Obadiah: Dive

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Have you ever been in a situation that was completely unjust and felt like God did not back you. I know this sounds terrible but there have been times in my life that “forgive and turn the other cheek” felt like I was allowing the person to get away with what they had done. It felt so wimpy, so unjust. I wanted justice, vindication, but God called me to forgive. And with gritted teeth and a surrendered heart I forgave.

The more I walk with God the more I realise that God is not a wimp. He is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the heavens and earth. He is the God of mercy and justice, the God of love and righteousness, the God of grace and holiness and he sees everything. He is one of those super mums that has eyes in the back of their head. Even though their head is turned away from you, you can’t get away with anything, they see all!

As you read your Bible it is important to get to know the full nature of God, he is not one dimensional! God does things that in our brains we simply cannot comprehend what he is doing. He is super protective and loving and forgiving all at once. He is a God of justice and grace. Our relationship with God is about trusting in his character, his nature and his actions. Even when we don’t understand. After studying and getting to know the God of the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament I can see why he asks us to forgive and turn the other cheek, it’s not because he is a wimp, it’s because HE is in control.  If I had pursued justice or vindication it would have consumed me, hatred and offence would have festered in my heart, that’s what happens when we focus on revenge. When we forgive, we are trusting God that he adores us, we are his child and like a Dad he wants us to go on with our lives and leave the rest to him.

Now in light of that revelation as I read Obadiah, I can see God is in “Dad mode” here. The Edomite’s had touched his child, Judah, and Dad is not happy! In the Deep Dive, Michael is going to look at the sin of pride that overcame the Edomites. But I want to focus on the nature of the Father in this text and in your life. Your Heavenly Dad is very protective of you, he sees all, knows all, and is definitely no wimp! When I was a child I got into a lot of trouble for telling a girl at school that my Dad would shoot her Dad – I know right – it was not one of my finest moments. Let me explain what happened, firstly I was five and I was having a competition with some girls at school about whose Dad was the toughest Dad. We had been arguing for ages, going back and forth “no my Dad is tougher because he lifts weights” “well my Dad is tougher because he has a big dog” I got really sick of the conversation and said with boldness, confidence and the complete knowing that I was about to win this thing hands down “Well my Dad is the toughest because he is a Policeman and has a gun and will shoot your Dad.” And with that I walked away. Well you can imagine how proud I felt that I had succeeded in showing that my Dad was the toughest Dad ever! My pride lasted all the way home until the phone rang that afternoon and the mother of the child let my mum know what happened at school and my very tough Dad, the toughest Dad ever, had to give me a lecture on how Policemen don’t shoot people, even if they are super annoying. Now I understand in the political climate that we live in today I would have been expelled for saying that at school, but this was 20 years ago, luckily! So why did I tell you that, I remember feeling so proud of my Dad not just because he was a Policeman, not just because he had a gun (and I can assure you he used it responsibly) but because I knew my Dad was tough and I knew that if I ever needed him to protect me or to help me, he was no wimp. That is the same as the God we serve, he is protective over you, he adores you, you are his child and he will fight for you but the fight is his fight, let him take care of you in his way.

Obadiah is one of these books were Father God is saying “I’ve got your back.” We read in Obadiah v11 “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.” The historical context of this book as we discussed in the Snapshot is that Judah had been taken into exile by the Babylonians and on that day Edom did not help Judah. We are unsure whether they were part of the attack or did just as Obadiah says and stood aloof while Judah was captured. The sin of pride overcame them and God saw it all!

And he is not happy about it.  All powerful Father God, that stands with Judah, is protective over Judah and is punishing Edom for what they did.  He was telling Judah that he understood, he saw the injustice that happened and that he would work it all out. The Cultural Background Study Bible states this “The message of Obadiah was for his own people, it is unlikely that many Edomites heard it and their language, while close to Hebrew, was not the same and probably sounded different. This prophecy, therefore, is an encouragement to God’s people that their disasters were not final, that restoration would come; however, at the same time, the prophecy is a caution lest they behave in the same way as the Edomites.”

God is prophesying over his people in this book, saying that “I will vindicate you and punish those who punish you! I am protective over you, as a Father is protective of their child. I saw what happened to you, how Edom abandoned you when you needed them the most and I will punish them but make sure you don’t commit the same sin that they did.” This prophecy is an encouragement and warning all at once. An Introduction to the Old Testament states “For his contemporaries who had suffered great tragedy, Obadiah holds out confidence in the triumph of divine justice and God’s ultimate purpose.” But it comes with a warning, the warning is like this when you seek justice or vengeance on others you have to remember that when you point to them saying God punish them, three fingers are pointing back at you. Remember it is only by the grace of God that you are saved and on the other side of judgment yourself. So, leave it with God.

As I was studying this incredible power packed book I read something that I thought would be great to share with you. In the commentary, An Introduction to the Old Testament the authors explain the theological message of the text “For the Israelite reader, Obadiah would have evoked a whole series of associative allusions beyond the context of the book itself. The repeated use of the name Esau and the description of Jacob as his brother, moves beyond the realm of international politics and into the world of family relationships.” God is angry at the pride of Edom more because they are family, and family is supposed to have your back. Families are supposed to step in when you need them the most. Today if your family has disappointed you or even turned their back on you, know this, Father God will never do that and he is protective over you. He sees all and knows that as you trust in him, forgive and leave the mess with God, he will take care of it all.

Read Obadiah and get a fresh sense of the Father God who adores you and can see where you are right now. He knows your mess, he knows the injustices that have happened to you, leave them with him, don’t carry that burden anymore. Your situation and your disasters are not final, God is going to turn them around for your good. That is the message of this incredible little book!

Have a lot of fun in this little book that packs a great punch! This book is full of emotion, passion for Judah, and Father God asserting his divine justice over a people that abandoned his brother when they needed them the most. Family and friends can leave you but God never will!



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next book: Deuteronomy

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