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Posts Tagged ‘God’

anionting

The very last item God instructed Moses to have made for the Tent of Meeting was anointing oil.  In Exodus 30:22-38, we find the instructions and specifications for its use.

The anointing oil that was to be used in God’s house was to be composed of the finest spices known to man.  Some of these included myrrh, cinnamon, cane cassia, and olive oil.  The tent, the Ark of the Covenant, the table, the lampstand, all the utensils, and the basin and stand were all to be anointed with this oil.  The priests were to be anointed with it as well and that was to be part of their consecration to God.  Anything that touched these items would become holy.

No one else was permitted to use or apply this particular blend of oil to themselves or use it in their own houses.  Only the tabernacle and the priests were to apply and use this oil.  It was to be holy and set apart for God alone and his own glory.  Anyone who duplicated or misused this blend of oil was to be cut off from the people of God.

God is serious about that which he sets apart for holiness.  Reverence and respect are to be used when handling and approaching the sacred things of God, and they are never to be used for the personal pleasures of men.

God was to be honored with this anointing oil.  The fragrant smell within his house was to set it apart as holy.  The different ingredients can be likened to the different gifts of the Holy Spirit in our gospel days.  The sacred spiritual gifts we are given by the Spirit are to be blended together in his house and used as a fragrant offering to the Lord by we, his people.  We must give our gifts back to him rather than serving ourselves by them.  If God has given us a gift in order to make himself known, we must regard that gift as holy unto the Lord and use it for his glory rather than our own.  When the people of God use their gifts and talents to serve themselves or build their own kingdoms, the result is disunity – or being cut off – from his true people.  When the people of God come together and bringing and blending the gifts we have been given together in unity, the result is a fragrant offering that honors the Lord.

Let us remember the words of Matthew Henry when offering the sweet and sacred gifts we have been given back to the Lord:

“…the like should not be made for any common use.  Thus God would preserve in the people’s minds a reverence for his own institutions, and teach us not to profane nor abuse any thing whereby God makes himself known…It is a great affront to God to jest with sacred things, particularly to make sport with the word and ordinances of God, or to treat them with lightness. (Matthew 22:5) That which is God’s peculiar must not be used as a common thing.”  

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tax

In Exodus 30, Moses is instructed by God to impose a tax on God’s people.  Moses was commanded to take a census of every person twenty years and older.  Each person, regardless of wealth or poverty had to pay the same amount.  The cost was half a shekel, which compared today would have been about $10.

The reason God gave for this imposition is found in Exodus 30:12.

“When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the Lord when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them.”

The reason the people had to pay was that they needed redeemed.  This fee was  ransom they gave for their own lives.  The idea was to remind them of their need to be bought back and “counted” worthy.

This tax came with a warning.  Those who would not pay were in danger of being plagued.  Doubtless the illustration is the fact that we are plagued by sin when we’ll not acknowledge our need for redemption and obey God in all that he commands.

This small fee could never truly redeem them, but it pointed them to their need.  It pointed them back to Passover to the God who redeemed the from slavery and it pointed them forward to a Savior who would truly redeem them from sin.

Again, every one of God’s people – rich or poor – paid the same amount.   This makes it clear that all souls stand on level ground.  We all stand in need and the cost is uniform.

The atonement money collected was to be used to defray the expenses of God’s tabernacle and its operations.

When we take a step back and look at the big picture here, it is clear that, as all of these things were being done for God and his glory, they were simultaneously being done for God’s people and their good.  The tabernacle was built for God.  The tabernacle was built for God’s people.  The altar was built for God.  The altar was built for God’s people.  The Arc of the Covenant was built for God.  The Arc of the Covenant was built for God’s people.  The golden lamps were built for God.  The golden lamps were built for God’s people.  The priests were consecrated to serve God.  The priests were consecrated to serve God’s people.  The incense, the showbread, the tax, the veil, the oil – everything was for God, and everything was for God’s people.  God instructed all these things to show his people who he was.  God instructed all these things to show his people who they were. Amazing.

 

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remember

After God instructs Moses on who will be the priests and the high priest, he describes in detail what they were to wear.  Let us consider these things and their significance.

First, the ephod is elaborated upon.  the ephod was a sleeveless linen garment which had fine thread, and, in the case of the high priest, had even gold woven into it.  It covered the chest to the hips and had two shoulder straps with an onyx stone on each side.  The stones were to have the names of all the sons of Israel engraved upon them.  Six tribes were to be written on one stone; six on the other.  These were called the “stones of remembrance.”  The settings were to be made of gold attached by corded golden chains.

Over the top of the ephod, a breastpiece was to be worn.  It was a folded piece of fabric which contained twelve precious stones – one for each tribe’s name.  Also, the urim and thummim – which were some type of spiritual help for decision making – were to be placed inside.  The high priest was to fasten this garment overtop of his ephod by way of golden cords, golden rings, and golden settings that he might have always the names of God’s people upon his heart.  Exodus 28:30 says this:

“And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.”

In all of these instructions, one beautiful theme shines through: God remembering his people; God taking great pains to insure that his people know and understand their worth and importance to him; God writing their names on the heart of their intercessor – the high priest; God preparing his people to be the honored guests in his house.

This is such a beautiful illustration and example of God’s love and mercy for his people.  When we study this passage, and recognize the magnitude of God’s love and mercy toward us, it makes what we know about those he was choosing all the more tragic.  When the reality of this passage hit me, it literally broke my heart for God.  Here’s why:

Here, while God is instructing his prophet about the honor and beauty and glory he is about to bestow on his chosen ones, writing their names on his very heart and taking special and great pains to remember them and make sure they know how loved and remembered they are, they themselves are forgetting him.  It was during this very time that Aaron – the high priest God chose – was leading the people in the worship of an idol: the golden calf.  While Moses is receiving this instruction about how much God longs to remember his people, Aaron is forgetting Him.  Aaron is assuming and presuming that God has forgotten them.

Consider that.  Consider that God was fitting to give Aaron not only the priesthood and make him the high priest – a place of great honor, God was also preparing to give him much gold to wear in honor of Him.  Aaron chose to worship a gift (gold) that God was planning to give him particularly in abundance in place of worshiping the God who was giving it.  In other words, God is up there giving these instructions to bless and honor these men with Aaron as the most honored and they are building an idol out of the very material that God wishes to use to honor them.  Aaron – the would-be high priest is leading the charge.

God had planned to write their names on the most precious stones known to man – to have the intercessor hold them on his very heart and they thought he had forgotten them.  They were in direct rebellion to God as he planned to honor and extend mercy to them.  This is the kind of God we serve.  This is the kind of people we are.  It is heartbreaking when we recognize how good and loving Our Father is as opposed to how foolish and disobedient we are.

Herein we realize how important it is to have an intercessor.  God said that Aaron would bear the judgement of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.  This is the job of every minister who would intercede for God’s people.  Judgement is bore on our hearts because when the judgement of another is placed upon your heart, you are not vindictive and smug about the discipline needed, rather, you are broken and sorrowful -just as the Father is – when discipline for others is necessary.  By bearing judgement on our hearts, we feel the pain of their disobedience and mourn for their repentance rather than happily, vengefully attesting to the fact that they will get what they deserve.

Aaron was our first high priest; Christ is our last.  Never, ever think he has forgotten you.  Your name is written on his hands and his heart.

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Life is so long and so short at the very same time.  We close our eyes exhausted from chasing toddlers wondering if the day will ever end and when we open them we are looking back wondering how they could possibly look so much like adults.

Every single day is so very important.  Every day.  Our time here on earth is short.  We have but a few minutes before we are gone.  It seems it is only the good things that pass by so fast.

The seasons of discouragement and doubt seem to last and last.  If we are not careful, bad days can turn into bad years, and bad years can turn into joyless lives.

Every single day is so very important.  Every day.  Our time here on earth is long.  We have years upon years to make a difference and influence those around us for the good.  We cannot allow personal setbacks or problems distract us from our purpose and the greater good.  If we do, we will end up looking back on a life poorly spent and largely unaccomplished.

I have taken somewhat of a hiatus from writing my personal thoughts over the past couple months.  I have not felt particularly inspired.  Truth be told, I have felt unloved, discouraged, and even unnecessary.  I have experienced heartache, hardship, and hurt over the past year.  If I am being honest, it has been a hard year. Still, a good year. I have gotten to know my Father so much better. What could be better than that?

And, I have been healing.  I have been sitting at the feet of my Lord and allowing him to be all that I need.  Healing is not a process one can easily explain and share while undergoing it.  But by God’s grace, I can see light.  His provision is evidenced in so many blessings that I can’t help be be thankful.  I have finally come to the place where I can honestly say to the Lord, “Whatever your plan is, that is exactly what I want today.  Suffering?  Give me that.  Miscarriage?  You’re sovereign; I surrender.  Shunning?  OK.  It’s your world, Lord, and I am just your kid. It’s your plan.  It’s your will.  It’s your authority to which I bow and none else.  USE ME.  Whatever that means in my life, do that.  Just use me.  Somehow, someway, get glory from my meager little life.  That is all I want and it is all that truly matters to me anyway.

I open my hands.  I unfold them and I wait.

When I was a young Christian, I used to pray every single day that God would allow me to die a martyr for him.  What I have found over the past twenty years is that it is likely easier to die for Christ than it is to truly live for him.  We die once.  As each day begins, we must live over and over and over again.  So I changed my prayer:

Lord, whether I may or may not die a martyr, please allow me to live a martyr.  Allow me to live dying daily for you that you might use me.  Give me peace with your perfect, sovereign plan.  Let me not miss the opportunities you give.  I do not need to understand, I just want to be used.  Please use me in this long, short life.  Amen. 

Every single day is so important.  Don’t waste it.

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return

In Exodus 23:10-19 we find the instructions for rest and return pertaining to crops and giving back to God out of our abundance.  These laws were given to the Jews in wilderness as they waited for the promised land.  They had great significance and we are able to draw more than a few parallels today in our own experience regarding how we ought to rest and what we ought to give back to the Lord.

In verses 10-11 we find the principle of a Sabbatical year for growing.  For six years the people of God were to sow their fields, but in the seventh year they were to let the ground lay fallow.  They were not to plant, reap, or keep anything that the ground produced on its own for themselves.  They were to store up in the sixth year for two years and allow the poor and the animals eat from the field in the seventh year.

Here we have the fundamental teaching God gave from the very beginning of working six days and resting the seventh.  Verse 12 reminds us of God’s order created in Genesis 1.  The main idea that we ought to take away is that rest and refreshment is not only necessary, but commanded for all living things.  The reason for the rest is not just rest in and of itself, but the underlying idea is trust in God.  Taking one day every week and one year every seven away from our work to simply rest and trust in the provision of God is a constant reminder that our strength, our portion, our needs are never met by our actions alone.  God is the giver of all things including food, shelter, clothing, and even the ability to work to obtain those things in this life.

“Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.” ~Exodus 23:13

In verse 13 we have a command to “Pay attention.”  It is not every passage that we have the Lord stopping in the middle of his instructions and law-giving to refocus his hearers and make sure they are listening.  Therefore, what is being said here must be of utmost importance.

The imperative here is not just to pay attention, but to pay attention to God’s words.  Oh, if every believer today would heed this instruction!  Pay attention to God’s Word!  Hear him!  Listen!  And the idea to which he was pointing was not only to pay attention to His words, but to ignore and avoid all other gods.  The people of God were not even permitted to speak of the ways and wants of foreign gods.  So important was his instruction on idolatry, he has stopped in the middle of his giving of the law on resting and returning a portion out of their work and abundance to him to say so.  Consider that.  I will say it again so it sinks in for us all.

 So important was his instruction on idolatry, he has stopped in the middle of his giving of the law on resting and returning a portion out of their work and abundance to him to say so.

Why does God do this?  It is because other gods – idols – be they material, relational, or otherwise, are exactly what are going to cause these guys, you, and I to disobey God in these instructions on rest and return.  Instead of resting as God commands here (and elsewhere) and being content with his provision, idols will cause us to work nonstop, keep all we produce for ourselves, never rest, never let our workers or animals rest, never let our fields rest, not give to the poor, and not give back or to the God who gave us all these things to us in the first place.  It is the driving ambition to serve other gods and make idols out of what our hands have made that prevent the rest and peace that God commands here.  Little wonder why he tells His people to pay attention to this.

In verses 14-17, God commands a return three times a year.  The men were to come before him and bring a portion back to Him.  Three times were set aside in the calendar year for feasts.  One was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, one of the Feast of Harvest/Feast of Weeks, and the last was the Feast of Ingathering/Feast of Tabernacles.  The significance of these festivals is worthy of noting.

With the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the people of God were to remember their deliverance out of Egypt.  It was celebrated in the month of Abib – when they came out of slavery by God’s mighty hand and the unleavened bread pointed to the provision of bread which rained down from heaven for them.

No one was to come to this feast empty-handed.  This feast began the day after Pentecost, or Shavuot. Christians know Pentecost where the Spirit was given but in the Old Testament the Jews knew this holiday as the Feast of Weeks – a time of harvest and firstfruits. There is an unmistakable correlation between these Old Testament practices and the New Testament spiritual realities.  If Jesus death and resurrection and the Holy Spirit’s subsequent work at Pentecost was the first fruits, we would expect what follows to be something that would point back to the deliverance that made those things possible.  That something is the preaching of the gospel.  The preaching of the gospel is what followed the first fruits of Pentecost.  The preaching of the gospel points us always and ever back to the cross – our deliverance out of slavery and bondage to sin.  And, just as no one could come to the Feast of Unleavened Bread empty-handed, no one can come to the true bread from heaven – Jesus Christ – without giving their very life to Him.

Secondly, God instituted the Feast of Weeks.  This was the feast at harvest time.  This was when they brought the first fruits of what they had sown to the House of God.  Just as they were to bring the first and the best of what they obtained from the earth and of their labor, we are to do the same.  God never allowed his people to keep all they had for themselves.  We are to rest, give back to Him and to others, and, in so doing we ought to remember who the Giver is and be thankful.

Lastly, the people were to gather at what was called the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Booths, or, here the Feast of Ingathering.  This gathering was at the year’s end and they were commanded to live in temporary structures during this week’s time.  It was to remind them that though they produced much and were at the end of the abundance for the year, everything given to them here on earth is temporary.  The idea was that they were not to keep back the last portion all for themselves out of fear or worry about the months ahead with no return, and that what was given could not be held forever.  God himself is the sustainer of all things including us and our very lives.  This was also a time of the reading of the law.  It is when we are most blessed that we are most likely to forget God and his requirements.

Lastly, the people of God were instructed once again on the kind of bread and the kind of sacrifice they were to offer.  This reminds us that we cannot worship God any way we want.  There was a specific kind of bread and a specific way to offer their sacrifice.  It is Jesus Christ alone whom we must bring to the altar with us and we must offer ourselves in the way in which he commands.

The very last instruction here is found in verse 19.  The people were told not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.  This was a superstition from a pagan religion of the day that said if one did this and sprinkled the milk over the fields, they would produce a better harvest the following year.  God’s people were to have nothing to do with superstition, false religion, idol worship, or pagan practices.  The principle is still true for us today.

Pay attention to these things.  Rest, remember God, and return the best of what he has given you.  Amen.

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Have you ever felt all by yourself?  I have.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I picked up my Bible first thing and read Isaiah 59.  Instead of giving me life, I allowed the Enemy to steal the encouragement of the Word and accuse me with it.  If I had just stopped at verse 1 and meditated, I think I would have had a different kind of day.

Behold, the Lord‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
    or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; ~Isaiah 59:1

It’s verse 2 that did me in.

but your iniquities have made a separation
    between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
    so that he does not hear. ~Isaiah 59:2

The condemnation I felt as I read this was overwhelming.  Being in a place where justice is not evident and wrongs have not been righted personally, it was easy for the Enemy to use that against me and bring accusation and discouragement.

Despite the fact that we all sin, to feel as though God is not hearing or acting on our behalf because we are separating ourselves by our own sinfulness is quite a place of despair – especially when you’re not really sure what sin it could possibly be.  Still, this is the reality for us all until Christ saves us.  After we are made right with Him, however, he hears us.  He acts upon on behalf.  He forgives our sin and he guides us in all truth.

The people Isaiah is speaking to here are not right with God.  They may be His covenant people, but they are not acting in accordance with his order.  Verses 3-8 describe their sin in detail.  They are speaking lies, making trouble, harming one another and they are failing to call for justice and plead for truth.  They are doing wrong and they are refusing to do right.  These are the reasons God will not listen to them or bring justice to them.

Therefore justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not overtake us;
we hope for light, and behold, darkness,
    and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. ~Isaiah 59:9

Therefore – because of these reasons and all your wrongdoing, lack of concern for righteousness and justice – because of this, justice for you is far away; righteousness is not with you.

Truth is lacking,
    and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
    that there was no justice. ~Isaiah 59:15

Truth is lacking.  That is a powerful statement.  When truth is lacking, much evil follows.  Even those who sought truth and stopped sinning had a hard lot.  They became prey for those who did not repent.  The Lord saw this.  The Lord was greatly concerned for this particular society of people.  The most offensive thing to God was perhaps not even the sin itself – it was that there was no justice.  There was no judgement.  No repentance.  No reconciliation.  God longed to be made right with these people but there was not even a shred of repentance.  Their hearts were as hard as ever.

He saw that there was no man,
    and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
    and his righteousness upheld him. ~Isaiah 59:16

Here is most powerful verse in the entire chapter.  God saw that there was no one – no man fit, no one righteous, no one who cared.  God did not throw up his hands or shrug his shoulders.  God did it himself!!!  How glorious!  Sin abounded, yet grace abounded all the more!!!  Matthew Henry says it this way:

“Since magistrates and societies for reformation fail of doing their part, one will not do justice nor the other call for it, God will let them know that he can do it without them when his time shall come thus to prepare his people for mercy, and then the work of deliverance shall be wrought by the immediate operations of the divine Providence on men’s affections and affairs.”

To whom shall God perform this goodness?  This mercy?  To whom will he bring justice?

“And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord. ~Isaiah 59:20

The Redeemer will come to those who turn from transgression.  Those who turn!  Those who repent!  Those who turn their eyes upon Jesus!  Amen!  God makes a way for sinners!  He does not cast us out!  He does not shun and avoid us!  He does not condemn and accuse us!  He saves us!  That is encouraging!

And the promises are laid upon Christ and his bride.  The church will continue always until the end of time and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!  Amen!

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In the very short book of Obadiah, this little known prophet speaks a word of both judgement and encouragement.  Obadiah’s book is only one chapter but R.C. Sproul notes that the authority of his message is seated in the authority of God rather than the prominence, or lack thereof, of this messenger.  Sproul’s observation is something we can put into our pocket and remember when a word of truth comes to us from an unknown or unlikely source.

Obadiah writes his prophesy primarily for two reasons or to two groups of people.  He begins:

The vision of Obadiah.

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”

Obadiah is writing about Edom.  Edom took part in a military assault on Jerusalem.  Judah was defeated and Edom prospered.  Both were covenant people of God.  Justice was not obvious during this time and it could easily have seemed to the people of Judah that they were living in opposite world.  We often feel the same way, too, when evil triumphs over good and wrongdoers win while the innocent suffer.  This is where Judah was.  Obadiah writes this message to make clear to both the people of Judah and the people of Edom that justice was coming.  God used Obadiah to convey also that he had great concern and compassion for the people of Judah.  He is writing to his people for both warning and encouragement, respectively.  Both groups needed this message.

God’s people of Judah needed to hear and understand that they were not forgotten and that God did indeed see their suffering.  They needed to know that God was deeply concerned for them and that it doubtless would be made right in time.

God’s people of Edom needed to hear that God was not pleased and their their victory and prosperity was soon coming to an end.  They needed to remember that God punishes injury – especially injury done to his own people.

Behold, I will make you small among the nations;
    you shall be utterly despised.
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,
    in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
    “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
    though your nest is set among the stars,
    from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord. ~Obadiah 1:2-4

Here, in verses 2-4, God is saying, “Hey Edomites – hey group of people who hurt my people, who by the way are your people too – I am going to make you small among the nations.  Maybe your brothers could not overcome you but I can.  I can and I will.  And God does do just that and fulfill this prophesy.

Why?

Your pride, Edom.  The reason you are being brought low by God himself is because of your pride.  Your pride has deceived your heart.  You may think you’re safe and high and mighty but I – the God of the universe – remember me? – I will bring you down and make you small.  Maybe your brother could not succeed against you and your pride but I can.

Furthermore, in verses 5-9 God goes on to share some more bad news with the people of Edom.  Obadiah assures them that the very people they trusted in – the worldly friends they made at the expense of their brothers – those guys were not their friends at all.  The prophet tells them that the worldly people they trusted in and used to hurt their brothers would be used by God to bring them down.  The ones they trust will be the ones who will conspire against them.  This is justice.  Edom betrayed his brothers so he would be betrayed by those he trusts.

“Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
    shame shall cover you,
    and you shall be cut off forever.
11 On the day that you stood aloof,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.
12 But do not gloat over the day of your brother
    in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
    in the day of their ruin;
do not boast[e]
    in the day of distress.
13 Do not enter the gate of my people
    in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
    in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
    in the day of his calamity.
14 Do not stand at the crossroads
    to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
    in the day of distress.

15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.

As you have done, it shall be done to you;
    your deeds shall return on your own head. ~Obadiah 1:10-15

The prophet goes on saying that Edom will be ashamed and cut off forever.  That is a pretty harsh word and the reason given for it is the violence done to their brothers.  God is saying that this injustice they have done has not gone unnoticed.  It is not a small matter.  God is not about to overlook their treachery.  They joined the enemy in order to get ahead and they injured their own people on purpose all for their own benefit and false security.  God is saying, “I saw what you did and judgement is coming.”

Consider verse 11.

 On the day that you stood aloof,
    on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
    and cast lots for Jerusalem,
    you were like one of them.

Remember when you acted like you didn’t see foreigners taking everything from your own brother’s house?  Remember when you sided with the enemy against him and participated in their assault against your own people?  Well don’t gloat about your victory.  Don’t rejoice.  Don’t boast.  Don’t loot.  Because guess what?  The day of the Lord is near.  God’s justice is coming, boys.  As you have done, it shall be done to you.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame,
    and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken. ~Obadiah 1:18

Esau.  Esau, this is what happens when you sell your brother out for a bowl of soup; for worldly gain; for selfish ambition; for self-centered self-worship.  You lose.  God sees.  God’s wrath repays.  R.C. Sproul puts it this way: “Edom is doomed because they broke the law of brotherly compassion by joining, in malicious merriment, with God’s enemies as they destroyed Judah…The exploitation of a brother’s adversity showed that Edom’s true loyalty was toward getting ahead in the world, in disregard of moral and spiritual absolutes. The seeds of Edom’s moral character were sown by their ancestor Esau, who shows that he cares more for earthly enjoyment than for God’s kingdom by despising his birthright of covenant blessings and marrying Hittite wives.”

Wow.  Think how encouraging it would be for the people of Judah to hear this in their place of felt betrayal, defeat, and humiliation.  Friends, God sees the injustices done to us.  He sees when your own friends and family betray, injure, and side with the enemy for their own advancement and benefit.  God is concerned about that kind of thing.  Even in the dark places of loss, loneliness, and rejection dealt by those who should have loved and protected us, God is working.  He will bring justice and appropriate discipline to those who wrong his own people.

Therefore, we must take Obadiah;s words to heart lest we begin to doubt God’s goodness in those times.  May our brothers who betray us repent before they are judged and may we know God’s love for us as we wait for either his justice or their repentance.  Amen.

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