Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 13: Obadiah; Psalm 132; Proverbs 29:24-25; Revelation 4


            Obadiah: The Lord spoke to Obadiah in a vision with a prophecy about Edom. Nations will come against Edom and they will be degraded because of their pride. They thought no one could conquer their mountain fortress.
            Thieves don’t steal everything and harvesters leave gleanings, but Esau will have nothing left. Allies will turn against Edom and set traps for them. The Lord will kill the wise men of Edom and mighty men will be shocked.
            It will happen because of Edom’s violence and attitude toward Jacob when Jerusalem was destroyed. They joined in on the plunder and gloated over their misfortune. They also captured or killed fugitives from Judah.
            When the Day of the Lord comes on all nations, Edom will get what they dished out. But in Zion, those who escape will be holy. Jacob will regain their land. Jacob and Joseph will be a fire that burns Esau. No one will save Esau.
            Different parts of Israel will take possession of the surrounding nations. The kingdom will belong to the Lord.
            Psalm: The Psalmist prays to the Lord to remember David’s devotion to have a house built for the Lord. All Israel knew of his passion to do this, and it encouraged them to go and worship the Lord at his dwelling place.
            He asks the Lord to rest or dwell with the Ark and make the priest righteous, shouting for joy. He asks the Lord to fulfill the promise to have one of David’s sons on the throne as long as they keep his commands.
            Zion is where the Lord has chosen his dwelling and he has said he will dwell there forever. He will bless the place and people with provision and salvation. David’s descendants will reign and his enemies will be shamed.
            Proverbs: A thief’s accomplice must hate himself. When asked to testify, he can’t say anything without admitting his own guilt. Fears enslave people but not those who trust in the Lord.
            Revelation: After Jesus tells John what specifics to write to the churches, he gives John a vision of heaven. He invites John in to show him what will take place in the future. He sees a throne with someone seated on it. The throne looks like jewels with a rainbow around it in the shape of an emerald. There were 24 thrones with elders sitting on them surrounding this one throne. The elders wore white and had golden crowns.
            The one throne issued lightning and thunder. The seven spirits of God were seen as seven burning torches before the throne. Also before the throne was a sea as smooth as glass and like crystal.
            Four creatures were on each side of the throne. Each looked like a different animal, a lion, ox, man, and an eagle. They were covered with eyes and had six wings. Forever, they praised God’s holiness. When they did, the 24 elders fell down before the one on the throne and worshiped him who lives forever. They threw their crowns before him and told of his worthiness to receive worship because everything was created by him and for him.

What Stood Out

            Obadiah: “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” (Obad 15).
            Psalm: “The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: ‘One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne’” (Ps 132:11).
            Proverbs: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” (Prov 29:25).
            Revelation: “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this’” (Rev 4:1).


            Obadiah: There is a reoccurring theme in the Bible that we should not overlook. That is God’s recompense. It comes in two flavors. The one in Obadiah is that of repaying a nation or person the same kind of violence that they dished out to others. Since Edom was founded by the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother, the Lord condemns them for the way they treated the survivors when Babylon destroyed Judah and Jerusalem. He will repay them in the same way they treated the survivors. It just wasn’t Edom that did this, we saw the same thing in Amos 1 when the Lord told of his punishment that would come on other nations for doing the same thing.
            Lest anyone think that this is just an Old Testament warning for us, we need to see what Jesus said in Revelation 22:12: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.” It doesn’t matter when we live, the Lord will repay us according to what our deeds deserve (Jer 17:10).
            The second flavor or recompense is that of reward. We can see examples of that in Jesus’ parables (Matt 25:23). We can see it in Jesus’ promises to the overcomers in each of the churches in Revelation 2 – 3. The rewards for those who remain true to Jesus will be greater than anything we can imagine. But in truth, we don’t deserve any of those rewards. Jesus took the bad flavor of God’s recompense on himself on the cross so that we could have the good flavor, the rewards of heaven and eternity with him.
            Since God has extended such grace to us, we should do everything in our power to treat others in the same way. We shouldn’t be like Edom who gloated over other’s misfortune. We should be helping any survivors of disasters, whether physical or spiritual. We can’t look down on them because we were in the same place as they were when Jesus gave us grace.
            Psalm: The temple at Jerusalem was a central point for worship during the reign of Solomon. It was what David wanted but only partially achieved because the Ark was there, but the altar and sacrifices were still performed elsewhere. All the activities of sacrifices pointed to the eventual sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God. Salvation now only comes through Jesus, our high priest, the One son of David who will always sit on the throne. For us, God’s holy ones, his saints, we shout for joy. Salvation isn’t only for the people of Jerusalem, Judah, or Israel, but for the whole world of those who put their trust in Jesus.
            Proverbs: When some one gets in a witness box or is questioned by some government authority and pleads the 5th amendment right not to incriminate himself, everyone automatically assumes he is guilty. I don’t think the Law of Moses had that same kind of right, but a person who wouldn’t testify against an accomplice was stuck. People would know he was guilty and if he did testify, he would have to face that accomplice later.
            We get in the same trap when we let fear govern the way we act instead of trusting the Lord. I’ve talked to people who rehearse in their minds what others would do if they say or behave in a certain way. I’ve done that myself. Out of fear, they often end up doing something wrong to keep from crossing another when they don’t even know if that action or speech will cause a problem. It’s called “walking on eggshells.” They live in fear and are trapped. They don’t trust the Lord for the outcome of doing what is right. There are many examples of these fears, but they are all the result of not trusting God, who can work all things for the good of those who love him (Rom 8:28). When we do trust him, we become more and more like Jesus.
            Revelation: There is a lot of debate about what is meant by “after this,” which appears twice in Revelation 4:1. The first one should be easy to discern because it is John telling his story. After Jesus stopped dictating what to write to the churches, he gives John a vision. The second “after this” is where people become opinionated. While everyone believes that it is to happen after John’s writing, they disagree on how long in the future it will be.
1.      It will happen immediately after the book of Revelation is written, our history.
2.      The churches represent different periods in church history and it happens after the Church universal looks like the Laodicean church.
3.      It happens in some undisclosed time in the future for us as well as John.
4.      It is all symbolic and doesn’t really happen.
            I think # 3 is the answer, but you don’t have to agree with me. What is more important in this chapter is not the when but the Who. The 24 elders are intriguing as well as the throne and the four living creatures. However, the real focus is the one on the throne.
            He is the Lord God Almighty. He is holy and that is repeated three times. It is a reminder that what is going to happen is due to his holiness. Unless you’ve never read the book of Revelation, you know that much of it is about the end of the world. It is coming because of God’s holiness. He isn’t going to put up with the evil of mankind anymore. This is the revelation of the end.
            He is our Lord and God and he is worthy of glory, honor, and power. We worship him because he is worthy. He is honorable so that what is about to happen is seen to be just and right. He is glorious and what will happen will bring glory to him. He is powerful, which means he has the ability to carry out everything that will happen. He has created everything and it is all by his will. Because he created everything, he has the right to do what he wants with it when he wants.
            When we see this vision of God, it lets us know who he is. We can’t accuse him of being unjust, unkind, or hold any other blame against him for what he will do. We can only worship him.


             I am thankful that Jesus has paid the price for my sins. I am free from fear and free to do what the Lord wants. I don’t have to worry about his recompense or what others may say or do when I trust Jesus. I can look forward to worshiping him on his throne in eternity.

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