April 5, 2012

Today you should read: Obadiah 1:15-21

Pride. Materialism. Violence. These are just a few of the many grievances that the LORD had against the nation of Edom. Beginning with Jacob’s deception of Esau (also called Edom) in Genesis 27, the nation of Edom had long been a thorn in the side of the children of Israel. This goes far beyond your typical sibling rivalry; there was hatred between these two brother nations. Edom was a prideful and haughty nation (Oba. 1:3-4, 12), they were ceaselessly belligerent against Israel (Oba. 1:10) and Israel was often a victim of their complacency and apathy (Oba. 1:11).

If any nation was sighing with relief that the LORD’s quarrel was only with Edom, then verses 15-16 offer a rude awakening. “The day of the LORD is near for all nations.”

For every command that was broken, for every idol that was worshipped, for every misdeed done against the chosen nation of Israel; the LORD promises that all nations will drink from the wrath of God. They will be as if they never were; completely destroyed at the hand of God’s holy judgment.

No one is exempt.

All are guilty.

Do you see the despair? The hopelessness? All nations will be judged according to their own actions, and not one of them will be able to stand under the holiness of God.

But don’t close the book just yet. Keep reading. Deliverance has also been promised. In verse 17, the LORD promises that deliverance is coming from Mount Zion. It will be holy, and those whom God has chosen will be the beneficiaries of an inheritance from outside themselves; an inheritance that is eternal. Out of the same nation that had been under a curse for centuries, One is coming who will bring complete restoration to the nation of Israel. The nation of Esau will be consumed by the fire of the house of Jacob and not one survivor will remain (v. 18). This Savior, the Messiah, will establish his Kingdom and its borders will expand to the north, south, east and west (vs. 19-20). The LORD will raise deliverers from Mount Zion to govern the land of Esau and they will help rule the restored kingdom. This Kingdom will be the LORD’s, and his reign will never end (21).

APPLICATION:

There are two very different nations described in this short book with two very different outcomes. There are two questions that we must ask ourselves in response to this passage:

1) To which nation do I belong? Do I remain under the wrath of God or do I belong to the Kingdom of Christ; having trusted in the promised Savior, the Son of God?

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If you have not come to a relationship with God through Christ, PLEASE turn from your sin; leave the nation of despair and hopelessness and trust in Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. He has drunk the cup of God’s wrath and paid the penalty for our sin. The day of the LORD is near and any other way will only lead to destruction. Will you follow Him?

2) Do I trust in the coming Kingdom of Christ? In other words, am I living with eternity in mind? Am I hoping in the deliverance and restoration that is coming with Christ’s return? Do I trust that one day, all things will be made new (Revelation 21:5) and I will live for eternity in His glorious Kingdom? Am I telling others of this salvation; the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Put your trust in the Christ; the ruler of the coming Kingdom. With Him, there is hope, deliverance and restoration.

Posted by: Guest Post by Adam Mabe, High School Ministries Intern

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April 4, 2012

Today you should read: Obadiah 1:1-14

Today we start a new book in our current reading of the Minor Prophets.  Let me give you a little background on Obadiah before you get started.

Obadiah is a book telling about the judgment of Edom and the restoration of God’s people – Israel.  It’s the shortest book in the Old Testament.  Edom is a mountainous land south of Judea and the Dead Sea.  Edom was inhabited by the descendants of Esau – Isaac’s oldest son.  This prophecy was written sometime between 800 and 500 B.C.  Obadiah was a contemporary of the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18:1-16 – you should read this!).

Elijah went to appear before Ahab.  Meanwhile, the famine had become very severe in Samaria.  So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Obadiah was a devoted follower of the LORD.  Once when Jezebel had tried to kill all the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had hidden 100 of them in two caves. He put fifty prophets in each cave and supplied them with food and water.)  1 Kings 18:2-4

Enough history – now to chapter 1:1-14 – go ahead – read it.

Some very applicable highlights…

Verse 3:  You have been deceived by your own pride…

This is not the first time this has happened.  Actually it happens all the time.  The first time is recorded in Isaiah 14:12-14.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning!  You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.  For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.  I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.  I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’”

Who is this narrative about Bible students?  Lucifer – Satan himself … but it could have been said about me or you.  Whenever we’re deceived by sin – pride is to blame.  We think God owes us or that we’re smarter than God Himself.

How is this true of you?  What’s your greatest risk in this area?

Verse 1:  We have heard a message from the LORD…

Does God speak to His children?  Yes!

After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.  John 10:4

When’s the last time you heard the voice of your Shepherd?  God wants to give direction to your life (Proverbs 3:5-6).  To hear Him, you must get quiet and listen.  Every day I pray two things… God give me ears to hear your voice and courage to obey what you tell me!

Are you listening for your Shepherd’s Voice?  Or… are you too busy – have everything under control – really don’t need His direction.  It’s one or the other.

Verse 1: An ambassador was sent to the nations to say, “Get ready, everyone!

Even though this was more than 500 years before Jesus came to earth to save His people from their sins, it sounds a lot like the Gospel.  This sounds like what we’re commanded to do – go as an ambassador (a representative of God) and tell people to get ready.  Get ready for judgment – get ready to meet God.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.   So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:19-21

What kind of representative are you?  How seriously do you take your job?  How successful are you at it?

The book of Obadiah – even though it was written a long time ago – still has a message for us today.  What did God say to you through it and what are you going to do about it TODAY?

Posted by: Tim Parsons