Hugh Hefner has been exploiting women and destroying men with Playmates of the Month for years. I’m spending 2009, not lusting from Playmates of the Month, but learning from the Minor Prophets–one a month. So, each month, I’m going to post some lessons I’ve learned from the Prophet of the Month.
Prophet of the Month for January: Obadiah
Obadiah is just twenty-one verses long, but he packs a huge punch into those verses. Written during a time of national crisis for the kingdom of Judah around 845 BC, Obadiah’s message is to the people of Judah about the Edomites, their neighbors to the east (if you’ve seen “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, you’ve seen part of the Edomite city of Petra). The Edomites had abused the people of Judah during this national crisis, and God’s message to them was simple.
You’re goin’ down.
As I spent half of December and all of January reading and reflecting on Obadiah, here are some of the things that have really hit me:
- National pride is a dangerous thing. Edom prided themselves on their secluded location, which made it tough for enemies to invade. They also prided themselves on their wisdom and military prowess. If you’ve seen pictures of their cities, you’ll know that they were also brilliant architects. They lived high in the cliffs, and their pride matched the altitude of their dwellings. God Himself declared that He would bring Edom down–humiliating them and destroying them–for their treatment of Judah (it was a constant thing–they harassed Judah for centuries). We aren’t immune to national pride. Patriotism is a huge thing here in the States. We pride ourselves on our military strength, our freedom, and our way of life. We continue to be, for the time being, a mighty nation on the earth. But all the great civilizations of the past have fallen. We’re not immune. Our pride in our might can overshadow our trust in God. One day, our nation will cease to be a superpower in the world. God still works in the affairs of men to get people’s attention and bring them to himself.
- God is the God of all nations. Back when this was written, many nations worship idols that were territorial–they had national gods, and gods of harvest, the rivers, etc. God makes it perfectly clear that He alone is the God of all nations. Nothing has changed. It isn’t a popular thing to declare Jesus as the one way. It is much more popular to let people choose their own path, their own religion (heck, even make one up). Just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean its true. God–who has revealed himself in the Bible–is still the God of all nations. One day, He will judge all nations.
- The Kingdom is the Lord’s. This is how Obadiah ends. He gives several huge predictions about a reunited Israel regaining the lands that they lost. I don’t buy into a future literal fulfilment of this. The literal fulfiment came especially with the Maccabean rulers that lived in the time between the Old and New Testaments. But the ultimate fulfillment comes in the arrival of the kingdom of God. The church expanded through the regions mentioned in Obadiah in the book of Acts. The kingdom of God did expand and redeem places lost by the old kingdom of Judah. People came to know the true king, Jesus Christ. The kingdom is still the Lord’s. It continues to expand, reaching new places and people with the message of the gospel. What role are we playing in the expanding of the kingdom of God?
Obadiah–short book, powerful message.
February’s Prophet of the Month: Joel.