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Obadiah 1:1-21

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11/6/2005
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Obadiah 1:1-21
Obadiah 1:1-21
Skip Heitzig
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31 Obadiah - 2005

The shortest book in the Old Testament, Obadiah contains condemnation against one of Israel's oldest enemies, Edom. Skip Heitzig looks at this nation's sin of pride as well as the book's foreshadowing of Christ, the church, and the end times.


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Now we have a few minutes left, and we have a book that has one chapter only. And so we have time to go through Obadiah, which leaves next week to go through the entire Book of Jonah, so we want to do that. Obadiah is the shortest book in The Old Testament-- 21 verses.

It's a book that is never quoted in The New Testament, though the principles are certainly there. It's a book against the Nation of Edom, which was mentioned already in the Book of Amos that we already saw. And it's a judgment against Edom for the way they treated-- guess who? The Jews-- God's covenant people.

Edom were next door neighbors to them. They're the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. So there is a relationship. There's been a longstanding feud in biblical times between these two nations. But they mistreated the Jews in that when other nations were gathering to attack Israel, the Edomites gloated over it and even helped the attackers sack the city on a few occasions, and also just before and in 586 BC with Nebuchadnezzar.

That's actually a perfect postlude to the Book of Amos, because remember, Amos chapter 9-- look at verse 12. He says, the Jews will possess the remnant of Edom. And so we're dealing, now, with part of the land that God promises that the Jews will inhabit in the kingdom age.

By the way, it's really the same theme as the Book of Amos. The theme-- the overarching theme of Amos and the overarching theme of Obadiah is God is just. This is God's justice. The vision of Obadiah-- his name means the servant of the Lord. There are no less than 12 people in The Old Testament named Obadiah. But this is the prophet.

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom, we have heard a report from the Lord, and a messenger has been sent among the nations saying, arise. Let us rise up against her for battle. Behold, I will make you small among the nations. You shall be greatly despised.

So just east of the Dead Sea-- if you have your map-- east of the Dead Sea, all the way down to Aqaba-- the Gulf of Aqaba there-- that whole desert region was the ancient area of the Edomites. Now, this book of Obadiah reads very close to chapter 49 of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 49 and Obadiah are very similar in language. There are some differences in cadence and syntax, but virtually the same, as if one was taking notes from the other. And it was a confirmation-- this is by the mouth of two witnesses-- every word will be established.

The pride of your heart has deceived you-- verse 3. You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high-- you say in your heart, who will bring me down to the ground? What pride, what arrogance is that? Though you ascend as high as the eagle and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, says the Lord.

Now, there they were thinking themselves impenetrable-- impregnable-- to outside attackers. Why? Because of their unique situation topographically and geographically. [? Salah, ?] their capital, and the city of Petra, made out of solid rocks-- or solid rock. There's not stones piled up. It's solid, carved-out rock-- and protected by rock cannons.

So they thought, we're safe. The area of Petra-- some of you visited it. It's a fascinating place. Several people-- several country-- for years tried to overtake it and were unsuccessful. The Egyptians, at one time, stored their treasures in the city of Petra; the Babylonians as well.

It was overtaken by the Babylonians. Subsequent to that, there was a time where the [? Idumean, ?] or the Nabataeans inhabited the area, and it became the capital of the Nabataean empire. And about 10,000 to 20,000 people lived in that rock city of Petra alone at that time.

Eventually, the Romans came in, booted them out, and those Nabataeans migrated to Judah where they became known as Idumeans. And Herod the not-so-great was an Idumean. He's called Herod the Great, but he's not really so great. We saw how God dealt with him, but he was of that lineage-- of Nabataean/Idumean lineage.

But as time went on, it became a ghost town. The Arabs took it over, really fulfilling the prophecy here. And to this day, the Arabs have this mysterious superstition about this city. They may pitch their tent outside of the area, but only for a night. They want to scatter as quickly as they can because there's still, they say-- they're haunted by this place called Petra that was once so great and then brought down.

If thieves had come to you-- if robbers by night-- oh, how you will be cut off. Would they not have stolen until they had enough? If grape gatherers had come to you, would not they have left some gleanings? Usually, grape gatherers, when they go into a harvest, will leave something behind. Usually, a thief, when he comes in and steals, will leave some things behind, but this judgment would be so absolute and so utterly complete that nothing will be left behind.

Oh, how Esau shall be searched out. How his hidden treasures shall be sought after. All the men in your confederacies shall force you to the border. The men of peace with you shall deceive you and prevail against you. Those who eat your bread shall lay a trap for you.

No one is aware of it. Will I not, in that day, says the Lord, even destroy the wise men from Edom, and understanding from the mountains of Esau? Then your mighty men, oh, Teman, shall be dismayed to the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.

The city of Teman-- or "Teh-man"-- was renowned for its sages-- its wise men. One of the counselors that came to offer so-called comfort to Job was Eliphaz the Temanite-- because it was an area renowned for its wisdom. But during a crisis-- when there's a real crisis, a real judgment-- the wisdom of this world just doesn't cut it. God brings it to nothing.

It's so shallow, the advice of secular humanism, during a real crisis. Be it a hurricane or a terrorist attack or an earthquake-- those are the times you see people looking up to God, because they know all of the combined wisdom of men comes to nothing, and they seek the Lord. For violence against your brother, Jacob, shame shall cover you. You shall be cut off forever.

And the day that you stood on the other side and that day the strangers carried captive his forces when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were as one of them. But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity, nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction. Nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

You should not have entered the gates of my people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped, nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the days of distress.

For the day of the Lord, upon all the nations, is near. As you have done, it shall be done to you. Your reprisal shall return upon your own head. When Judah was being attacked, they helped and they danced. They rejoiced. It was a party. Oh, the Jews are being destroyed! God takes that seriously.

I wonder what he thinks about-- as you have seen in some of the news casts when Israel was being attacked by Scud missiles-- the dancing in some of the streets over in the Middle East, the rejoicing of some people that Jews have been killed, slaughtered. For as you drink on my holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually. Yes, they shall drink and swallow. It shall be as though they had never been.

But on Mount Zion, there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness. The House of Jacob shall possess their possessions. The Jews will occupy the land God promised when the Messiah reigns. The house of Jacob shall be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, but the house of Esau shall be stubble. They shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivors shall remain of the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken.

One of the great tragedies of Israel's history is they crossed the Jordan River and God gave them all the land. Walk on it. Let the sole of your foot tread upon it. All that you tread upon will be yours. The problem is they didn't tread upon it. They didn't claim all that God had given them.

If you look at the geographical promise, God gave them, by promise, 300,000 square miles of land from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. In their zenith under Solomon, they claimed and owned only 30,000 square miles. In other words, they only ever occupied 1/10 of all that God promised. But the promise is there will come a day when they will possess their possessions. They'll have it all-- when Messiah reigns.

Christian, let me ask you a question. You're saved. The blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed you of your sins. Great, wonderful! But what are you doing with all of the promises of God-- all of the inheritance that is yours in Christ Jesus in heavenly places? Are you possessing your possessions? Are you enjoying that full inheritance?

The south shall possess the mountains of Esau-- verse 19. The lowland shall possess Philistia. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim, the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the captors of this host of the children of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath. The captives of Jerusalem, who are in [? Sepharad ?] shall possess the cities of the south.

Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion-- or, better translation, deliverers-- to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord's. So just as God, at one time, raised up judges in Israel to adjudicate in the kingdom, so too, in the kingdom age, the Lord will be raising up similar leaders. And who will they be? The saints, some of us.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul says-- chapter 6-- do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And in Revelation chapter 20, it speaks of those who will rule and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. The Bible predicts we're going to reign with a rod of iron.

So God will be raising up his government. And you know what? It'll be the best government the world has ever seen-- a theocracy. Then we don't have to blame this politician or that politician. And as time goes on, I'm becoming less and less of Republican or Democrat. I'm a theocrat. I want Jesus to come back and take over the world that he made. That's when it's going to be great.

[APPLAUSE]

So Israel was judged, as God predicted, but God predicts they will be restored. Esau and the Edomites will also, in justice, be judged, but they will be forever destroyed because of the way they treated the Jews. You can read on your own Matthew chapter 25, which speaks of the judgment of the nations.

Judgment is not a popular topic, is it? Never has been. And it's void in, again, many pulpits in many churches. In fact, sometimes you'll even hear unbelievers mocking the idea of judgment, like Ted Turner, who said Christianity is a belief system for losers. And he said-- boldly-- quote, "I am looking forward to dying and going to hell." He said, because they say heaven is perfect. How boring. At least in hell, we can make it a better place.

[LAUGHTER]

Well, it is no laughing matter. And you know what? Every unbeliever-- every unbeliever-- changes his theology at the moment of death. Every unbeliever, at the moment of death, gets it right and has a full understanding of the truth. Aren't you glad that before death, you've come to the understanding of the judgment of God and the great price Jesus paid to take you out of the judgment of God and give you everlasting life?

Which leaves us with this. We should be telling as many people as we can about the great love of God in view of the judgment that is coming. Let's pray together.

Heavenly Father, what a wonderful time we have every week when your word is opened and we read it and we consider it and we apply it to our lives. You are a holy and righteous and just God, and none can measure up to that plumb line of your righteousness. How wonderful it is to know that the same one that we can't measure up to-- Jesus-- is the same one that enables us to be clothed in your righteousness. And so we thank you for this wonderful set of promises that we have. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Let's all stand. Possessing our possessions-- unto us are given exceeding rich and precious promises. I wonder how many of us could receive so much more. And God has so much more for us than we have yet received.

Our failure to enter in-- as Pastor Skip was saying-- to the glorious inheritance that is ours in Christ-- as Paul talks to the Ephesians about these rich blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. God has, I'm sure, more for each of our lives. We do possess, by faith, those things that God has promised. But so many of us fail there.

We don't go in and put our foot down, so to speak, so that every place where we put our foot the Lord has given it to us. And I would encourage you to enter in to receive all that God has for us. Why should we come short of what God is desiring to do in our lives and in our corporate body here, the church? May the Lord help us that we would press in to receive of that fullness that he wants us to enjoy.

Pastors are down here again to pray for you this evening. Whatever need, problem that may exist, God wants to help you tonight. And maybe tonight you can begin that wonderful journey in which you enter into the fullness and begin to possess all that God has for you.

And so we would encourage you-- come on down after the service and spend some time in prayer, and these men are here to minister to you-- to agree with you in prayer that God will work in those situations in your life where, maybe, you're coming short of what all that God has for you. So may the Lord be with you. May he bless you and keep you in his love and cause you to just have a wonderful week of fellowship with the Lord as we press in to possess all that he has promised to us.
 
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