Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Obadiah 1:15-18

The Day of the LORD and the Future
15"For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations
As you have done, it will be done to you
Your dealings will return on your own head.
16"Because just as you drank on My holy mountain,
All the nations will drink continually.
They will drink and swallow
And become as if they had never existed.
17"But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape,
And it will be holy
And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions.
18"Then the house of Jacob will be a fire
And the house of Joseph a flame;
But the house of Esau will be as stubble
And they will set them on fire and consume them,
So that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,"
For the LORD has spoken.

We begin verse 15 with a phrase that will not be uncommon to see in our perusal of the Prophets: "The day of the Lord." In fact, our next prophet to study will be Joel, and his book focuses solely on this theme.

Generally speaking, the day of the Lord is that time when the Messiah will return to judge all the nations. Up until this point in the book, Obadiah's prophecy has focused on the more immediate destruction awaiting Edom at the hands of God. He now speaks of the future to come at the hands of the Messiah, and nations who have not heeded the Word of God will find that breaking "the Golden Rule" comes with extremely high consequences.

"Thy reward shall return upon thine own head." Rewards are spoken of throughout the Bible. The Hebrew word for reward means "treatment, as in an act." [Strong's] Recognizing all that Edom had done, surely this was a grave sentence indeed. (Yeah, pun intended.) But for the one who believes in and grows the Kingdom of God, the reward is quite different.

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality."

--Colossians 3: 23-25

Judas had a choice of rewards. He got his.... No partiality.

My study Bible has an excellent note on verse 16. What exactly is the drink, here? "Compare Zechariah 12:2, where the Lord will make His people as a 'cup that causes reeling' from which His enemies will be made to drink. This refers to the cup of God's wrath. Judah drank temporarily of judgment, Edom will drink 'continually'." Metaphorically, God said that His people would not only prevail but would bring the permanent destruction of Edom.

From verse 17 until the end of the book, God explains the rising of Judah to carry out His work. "Those who escape" [God's wrath] will regain their possessions--those things lost when Edom allowed the pillaging of Judah. Even more, Judah would be the "consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29 among other places) of God upon Edom, reducing the nation to " that there will be no survivor...."

When I hear 'stubble', I immediately think small growth of hair. However, the first dictionary definition is "short stumps of grain, corn, etc., collectively, left standing after harvesting." Think on how many Biblical references you have read regarding "the harvest." The Messiah, the great reward of the believer, returns to gather His own--the harvest, but brings the reward of wrath to those who reject Him, reducing them to stubble--the remains of the harvest.

I like how the King James puts verse 17: "But upon Mount Zion there will be deliverance, and there shall be holiness." God, who set His people apart (sanctified, made them holy), by His grace--not on any merit of our own--will bring deliverance. As Ginny commented in an earlier post, quoting from her New Living Translation introduction to Obadiah, "
But only a God who judges can reassure us that evil will not ultimately triumph." Edom refused the call, and its dealings returned to its head.

Next time, the conclusion of "The Day of the Lord and the Future," and the conclusion of the Book of Obadiah. 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Obadiah 1: 19-21

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).


Edie said...

I've been thinking a lot about how people (including God's people) don't want to hear about judgment. It's too harsh, or uncomfortable so the messenger is hated or ridiculed. I think it's sad. God tells people about the coming judgment in order to direct us to salvation.

I like that you include your study resources as well.

I'm going to go see what else I've missed over here.

Thanks for taking this on Sue J.

Edie said...

Okay I have to share that the DWV that just showed up here is "synners".

Sue J. said...

AMEN!! to the DWV....

As for the messengers, speaking the truth in love is something we're called to do as well, and even in that there is sometimes fear. Sometimes, we don't want to face the response. Jesus said to turn the other cheek.

"They" aren't going to like us because either they're lost in this world and without ears to hear, or God is in the process of bringing them to an understanding of something tough. Sometimes, the messenger has tough but saving news. It's all part of that "trouble" that we would face here in the world, which is why we need to remember that Jesus has overcome it all.

Edom is the epitome of the state of a nation with closed ears. There is hope for those who turn. Obviously, no hope for those who don't.

Appreciate your thinking here, Edie!