That’s not to say it’s an easy purpose, or a convenient one. It might very well seem hard or even impossible, but it only looks that way. The truth is that one day you will look back and see how all the pieces fit together. And how your life has been a complete and utter success.
Archive for March, 2011
Among the Semitic peoples many names, such as the one before us, were common, occurring frequently in the Old Testament. Little or nothing is known about the Obadiahs of the Bible, but the name has also been found on an ancient Hebrew seal.
1. The pious governor of Ahab’s palace who hid one hundred of Jehovah’s prophets (
2. The founder of a family of the lineage of David (1 Chron. 3:21: – 21 The descendants of Hananiah: Pelatiah and Jeshaiah, and the sons of Rephaiah, of Arnan, of Obadiah and of Shekaniah).
3. A man of Issachar of the family of Tola (1 Chron. 7:3: – 3 The son of Uzzi: Izrahiah. The sons of Izrahiah: Michael, Obadiah, Joel and Ishiah. All five of them were chiefs).
4. Son of Azel, a descendant of king Saul
1 Chron. 8:38: – 38 Azel had six sons, and these were their names: Azrikam, Bokeru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah and Hanan. All these were the sons of Azel.
1 Chron. 9:44: – 44 Azel had six sons, and these were their names: Azrikam, Bokeru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah and Hanan. These were the sons of Azel.
5. Son of Shemaiah, a Levite of Netophah (1 Chron. 9:16: – 16 Obadiah son of Shemaiah, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun; and Berekiah son of Asa, the son of Elkanah, who lived in the villages of the Netophathites).
6. A Gadite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:9: – 9 Ezer was the chief, Obadiah the second in command, Eliab the third).
7. Father of Ishmaiah, prince of Zebulun in David’s time (1 Chron. 27:19: – 19 over Zebulun: Ishmaiah son of Obadiah; over Naphtali: Jerimoth son of Azriel).
8. A prince of Judah, sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the people (2 Chron. 17:7: – 7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah).
9. A Levite, one of the overseers of the workmen who repaired the Temple in Josiah’s time (2 Chron. 34:12: – 12 The workers labored faithfully. Over them to direct them were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites descended from Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, descended from Kohath. The Levites—all who were skilled in playing musical instruments).
10. Son of Jehiel, a descendant of Joab who returned from exile with Ezra (Ezra 8:9: – 9 of the descendants of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men).
11. A priest who, on behalf of his father’s house, sealed the covenant (Neh. 10:5: – 5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah).
12. A Levite, founder of a family of sanctuary porters (Neh. 12:25: – 25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon and Akkub were gatekeepers who guarded the storerooms at the gates).
13. The prophet of Judah who lived over 550 years before Christ
Obad. 1: – 1 The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign LORD says about Edom – We have heard a message from the LORD: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, “Rise, let us go against her for battle”—
2 “See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised.
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’
4 Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the LORD.
5 “If thieves came to you, if robbers in the night— oh, what a disaster awaits you!— would they not steal only as much as they wanted? If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes?
6 But how Esau will be ransacked, his hidden treasures pillaged!
7 All your allies will force you to the border; your friends will deceive and overpower you; those who eat your bread will set a trap for you, but you will not detect it.
8 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “will I not destroy the wise men of Edom, those of understanding in the mountains of Esau?
9 Your warriors, Teman, will be terrified, and everyone in Esau’s mountains will be cut down in the slaughter.
10 Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever.
11 On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.
12 You should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction,
nor boast so much in the day of their trouble.
13 You should not march through the gates of my people in the day of their disaster, nor gloat over them in their calamity in the day of their disaster,
nor seize their wealth in the day of their disaster.
14 You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble.
15 “The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.
16 Just as you drank on my holy hill, so all the nations will drink continually; they will drink and drink and be as if they had never been.
17 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance.
18 Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.” The LORD has spoken.
19 People from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau, and people from the foothills will possess the land of the Philistines. They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead.
20 This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev.
21 Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the LORD’s.
The Man Who Prophesied Disaster
This Minor Prophet cannot be identified. His book, the briefest in the Old Testament, gives his name, but there the record ends. Pusey says, “The silence of Scripture as to Obadiah stands in remarkable contrast with the anxiety of man to know something about him.” His origin, age, life, country, parents and grave are all unknown. His is the voice of a stranger. He has been identified with the Levite of the same name sent by Jehoshaphat to teach in the cities of Judah [See No. 8]. He has also been linked with the pious Obadiah of Ahab’s house [See No. 1]. Of the prophet’s personal history not a single incident or even tradition has been preserved. The work is more important than the worker.
It would seem as if the prophet lived and labored between the taking of Jerusalem and the destruction of Idumea, since he speaks of “foreigners” entering Jerusalem and the day of Judah’s destruction and distress (Obad. 1-14: – 14 You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble). Although his book is the shortest in the Hebrew Canon, consisting of only twenty-one verses, yet it demands more of our attention, proportionately, than any other book. Looking at it from the aspect of size, it is little, but weighty. Multum in parvo.
Obadiah’s prophecy has always been a favorite one with the Jews. It is principally from Obadiah that they learned to apply the name Edom to Rome. “Edom” stands as the typical designation for all the deadliest foes of the House of Israel.
Edom was descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob, and thus the people were akin to the Children of Israel. Since the days of the Exodus there has been frequent conflict between the two races. The Edomites had shown themselves unfriendly to Moses and the Israelites, refusing them passage through their territory when marching towards Canaan, and this bitterness still continues, accounting for the present animosity of the Arab world toward the Jew.
Obadiah’s style in writing is full of individuality. It is animated and vigorous, abounding in appeals and having the preponderance of interrogation of great point and vehemence. His language is simple and pure, with utterance often highly poetic.
The lessons to be gathered from Obadiah’s description of the character and career, the downfall and doom of Edom; are clearly evident:
I. The similarity of sin and punishment.
II. God will not cast off His people forever.
III. Greed and cruelty are hateful to God.
IV. Pride goes before a fall.
V. The ultimate kingdom is the Lord’s.
|A Crooked Woman Healed; The Prodigal Son
Luke 13:11 to Luke 15:32
JESUS NOW TAUGHT in the cities and villages where the seventy had gone to preach and to heal the sick. In one city he found a crooked woman in the synagog on the Sabbath-day. This poor woman had not been able to straighten herself for eighteen years, but was stopped over in a pitiful manner.When Jesus saw her he pitied her. Calling her to him, he said, “Woman, you are set free from this infirmity, which has bound you so many years.” Then he laid his hands upon her bent back and immediately she was able to stand straight again.
The woman was very happy, and she praised God because she had been made well. But the ruler of the synagog was displeased with Jesus for healing her on the Sabbath. He said, “There are six days when men ought to work; therefore let the sick come to be healed on those days, and not on the Sabbath.”
But Jesus replied, “You are only pretending to be careful to please God. Do you not loose your ox and your ass and lead them to water on the Sabbath day? And should not this poor woman, who is a daughter of Abraham, be loosed on the Sabbath-day from this infirmity with which she has been bound by Satan for eighteen years?”
The enemies of Jesus were ashamed when they heard his wise reply, and the other people praised God with loud voices because they had seen his wonderful works.
One day some of the Pharisees came to Jesus and pretended to be friendly. They told him that Herod, the King, was seeking to take his life just as he had caused John the Baptist to be put to death. They urged Jesus to leave the country at once, and go far away, lest herod find him and kill him. They hoped in this manner to be rid of Jesus.
But Jesus did not feel afraid of Herod. He knew that his greatest enemies were among the Jews, and among the religious rulers of the Jews. They hated him because he taught the poor people and because he told them about their sins.
Now he said to these Pharisees: “Go to Herod and tell him that I cast out evil spirits and heal the sick today and tomorrow, and on the third day, I shall be made perfect. For I must walk today and tomorrow and even the day following, for it can not be that a prophet shall perish outside of Jerusalem.” Jesus meant that just as the Jews had killed God’s prophets in other days, so they and not Herod would cause him to be put to death.
Many publicans and sinners followed Jesus, to hear his words. And the Pharisees and scribes found fault, saying, “This man receives sinners and even eats with them.”
Jesus knew how they were complaining about him, and he spoke to the people by parables. First he told them the parable about the Lost Sheep. Because the Jews kept many sheep he knew they would understand the story.
“What man of you,” he asked, “having a hundred sheep would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and seek for the one that was lost? And when he finds it he will bring it back and rejoice more over the sheep than over the ninety-nine which did not wander away. So it is in heaven when a sinner repents and forsakes his sins; there is more rejoicing over him than over ninety-nine just persons who have no sin.”
There were women in the crowd listening to Jesus’ words. And Jesus saw them there, so he told a story which they might understand. “What woman,”he asked, “having ten pieces of silver and losing one of them will not forget about the nine and search carefully through the house until she find the missing piece? And when she finds it she tells her neighbors and friends, and asks them to rejoice with her because she has found the piece that was lost. So also,” said Jesus, “there is rejoicing in heaven when one lost sinner comes to God.”
Both the men and the women were listening very carefully now, and Jesus told the parable about the unthankful son who left his father’s house and went to live among strangers. This is the story:
“A certain man had two sons, and the younger son was not contented to remain at home with his father and his brother. He asked that his father divide the money which would some day be given to him and to his brother and give to him at once the part that would be his. So the father divided the money, and the younger son took his part and went away. He thought he was very rich, and he spent his money freely. He enjoyed every pleasure that he knew, and he seemed to have many friends. But after a while he spent all his money and he had nothing left. Then he grew hungry; but his friends left him and refused to help.
“In his trouble the young man offered to care for a farmer’s hogs, but he could scarcely keep from starving. And no man pitied him, or gave him any decent food to eat.
“Then the young man remembered his father, and the hired servants who worked in his father’s house. He knew those servants were well cared for. He decided to return to his father’s house and ask to be made a servant there. So he returned to his home country to beg his father’s forgiveness and to ask permission to be only a servant in the old home.
“That father loved his wandering boy, and his heart was sad when the boy left him to live among strangers. Every day he longed for the boy to come back. And when at last he saw his son coming, clothed in rags, he ran out to meet him and wept for joy. The boy began to speak; he said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you–‘; but he had no opportunity to tell the father how he wished to become a servant in the old home, for the father commanded a servant to go quickly and bring the best clothes and dress the young man in them, and to prepare a feast of gladness, for the lost had been found.
“The elder son was in the field at work. When he returned to the house and saw the excitement he asked the servants what had happened. They told him that his brother had come back again. And the elder son was displeased and would not go in to see his brother. Then his father came out and told him the glad news, but still he was displeased. ‘I have served you faithfully all these years and you do not rejoice over me,’ said the unhappy man, ‘and now when my brother comes back from his riotous living you rejoice greatly over him.’
“Now the father understood that his elder son was jealous of his brother. He said, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that I have is yours. Whenever you wished you could prepare a feast; but your brother has been to me like one dead, and now he is alive again. And it is right that we should be merry because he has returned to be with us again; for he was lost, but is found.'”
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him–the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD–and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump, from his roots a budding Branch. The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, The Spirit that g ives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God. Fear-of-God will be all his joy and delight. He won’t judge by appearances, won’t decide on the basis of hearsay. He’ll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth’s poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention. A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked. Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.
In Jesus’ name
7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, and I will testify against you:
I am God, your God.
8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (vv. 14,15). The people had come to God’s court and said, “You can’t judge us. We have been offering You sacrifices.” And God replied, “I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are continually before Me. I will not take a bull from your house, nor goats out of your folds” (vv. 8,9). He also said, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness” (v. 12). He was saying, “When you bring Me these sacrifices, you are only giving to Me what I have already given to you.’
Think about that. When you put your offering in the plate, are you giving God something that isn’t already His? Who gives you the strength to work? God. Who protects you to and from work? God. Who gives you the skills to work? God. Therefore, when we bring material offerings to Him (and He wants us to do this), we are only bringing what He already has given us. God wants us to give Him what He has not given us: “Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High” (v. 14).
The sacrifices God wants most from us originate in our hearts–calling upon Him, thanking Him and obeying Him. Bring to Him thanksgiving and praise. God does not give us thanksgiving and then say, “Give it back to Me.” No, He waits for us to praise Him. Bring to Him obedience: “Pay your vows to the Most High” (v. 14). Bring to Him prayer: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble” (v. 15). When we bring these sacrifices, we glorify the Lord.
God wants your sacrifices to be from the heart. So often we receive from Him without returning thanks and praise. Do you want to bring glory to God this day? Thank Him for what He is doing for you. Obey His Word. Bring your problems to Him. These are all opportunities He can use to bring glory to Himself.
Sometimes we think of these two things as in opposition. The Bible never places them so, but shows how perfectly they harmonize. Prayer is one kind of work, necessary to the proper doing of all other kinds. When we pray, we are in touch with God, expectant, trusting: He is at work. He does what we cannot do. We are to be at work also, doing what we can do.
In Paul’s closing remarks to the Christians in Colossae he includes greetings from Epaphras.
He prays hard for you all the time….He works tirelessly for you. (Col 4:12-13 NEB)
As we pray, the Lord frequently shows us what we ourselves can do to cooperate with Him in bringing about the answer. Let us listen as we pray. Then let us go out and work tirelessly.
God created joy as a balm for pain.
What are some places, who are some people filled with joy that you can rely on to ease your pain?