The Day of the Lord Is Near

Obadiah 1:15-18

Number of different ways people deal with potentially stressful situations; you know, those times you know something will go down, not sure when or exactly how, may involve some kind of conflict. Some think about nothing else, can’t eat or sleep, stomach in knots/nervous wreck until it’s over. Attitude may depend on their part in situation: bystander, participant, probable winner or loser. Some do best they can to be properly prepared to best of ability. Others, although well-informed, act as though no care in world, going on merry way heedlessly as before, thinking somehow is of no concern to them.

Not just court dates, custody hearings, parent-teacher or job interviews, physician consultation that fit this kind of circumstance. Warnings described or presented in God’s word fit that category, responses parallel those just identified too. Since God is good Father, expects certain kind of response to his warnings – not like parent who says to child “next time”… for twenty-third time. God says what he means, means what he says, expects ones to whom he speaks to pay attention, then respond appropriately.

Israel failed to do that, consequently overthrow by Assyrians 722 BC. Same for Judah, consequently Babylonian captivity century and a bit later. Going 3 for 3 here – would also be true for Edom: would completely ignore God’s gracious warnings, reject any application of prophetic message to them. God knew that, was part of his sovereign plan, yet sent prophets to declare truth anyway. Is multi-part message here in Obadiah – kind of like multi-part business forms… one for customer, one for accounting, one for shipping, etc.

In these 4 verses is message from Almighty God for Edom, for all the nations, and for Jewish people (by extension, all God’s people). Will be day of judgment coming, also a day of deliverance. Which it is determined in part by response to God’s warning and rod of correction. Like most messages of judgment from God in his Word, a gracious element included as well – not all doom and gloom!

A. day of judgment v.15

approaching, not present… yet

God graciously warns friends and enemies – there is day of reckoning coming (DOL), as certain as God is God, has kept promises throughout history

two part warning to enemies: you are not prepared, you need to get prepared, you still have time but not indefinitely

strong exhortation to friends: make certain you are prepared… and stay that way – stakes are not same for friends as enemies, yet… friends should still take notice

lex talionis

“eye for an eye” – “as you have done” – punishment is to match crime; consider this also from enemy/friend perspectives

certainly many news items about God’s enemies – what will this verse mean for them given their often public actions

now what does that mean for his friends, esp. when consider that every sin must be rightly punished – all of that laid on Christ

no mercy, only justice

those who remain in their sins, in view here rebellious Edomites will experience God’s perfect justice based on his perfect knowledge

no consideration given, no relaxing of sentence because of bad parenting, rotten ex-wife, playground bullying… no excuses

God cannot simply show mercy toward sinners on a whim – his righteous justice requires full payment without exception

prefigures final judgment

previous days of judgment God can show mercy to those who repent… in time – not so for Last Day, no turning back once final judgment begins

horrors of day itself will be bad enough, won’t hold candle to judgment as in the real thing… for eternity, as lifetime of sin added to by eternity of frustrated angry rebellion

God has given sufficient warning of that Day already, will arrive without any further advance warning – means no guarantees… of next moment, much less tomorrow

fear can be good motivator – God will be pleased if fear of judgment leads to genuine repentance; majority of people alive today don’t want God, are convinced they don’t need him

Bill Bright, Cru, 1952, 4 Spiritual Laws – #1 “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” – if that’s all, why would anyone need God

have spent far too much time convincing lost people of God’s love, not enough of God’s justice and what it means for them

B. day for all nations v.16

perspective widens out, whole panorama

begins with Edom particularly, then camera pulls back to include Judah, surrounding nations, focus shifts away from Edom

one particular kind of drinking in view here – drinking cup of God’s wrath: not simply external experience to be endured, one that involves whole person

Judah drank cup of wrath and survived

started with loss of northern kingdom, progressed through multi-year seige by Nebuchadnezzar and multiple deportations to Babylon ending with destruction of Jerusalem incl. temple

was certainly period of great hardship for every individual involved whether (using our language) among saved or lost

did not end with destruction of Jews because God had purpose to preserve a remnant – would raise up nation again from ruins of old one, through that line would result promised Seed

for Jewish people, cup of God’s wrath intended to correct, discipline, purify – did purify from sin of idol worship as had previously

the nations will drink the cup and be destroyed

experiencing cup of God’s wrath more intense, more drawn out for other nations; also results in different outcome: destruction

would be some particular individuals among nations who would be preserved from destruction, would not continue to exist as distinct people after judgment ended

would be removed from world stage without leaving any trace of their existence – hard to envision a sadder end: “they shall be as though they had never been”

is both warning and comfort: God not content to only carry out justice on evil people, he brings retributive justice to evil nations

God will not “turn blind eye” to national evil indefinitely, either theirs or ours – comforting to know that, also incentive to be good citizens

see Isa. 51:22-23

Judah “survived” because God took away cup before was empty; God said they had enough, rest could be for enemies

God can show mercy like that because Lord Jesus drank cup of God’s wrath until empty – nothing left for his people to endure

all those who die in their sins have that to look forward to – they have no one to drink it but themselves, Satan has his own cup

C. day of deliverance v.17

Obadiah looks further to future, turns focus more particularly on Israel and Judah… iow, God’s people incl. church

on Mount Zion will be deliverance

holy place in holy city no place of security at time of Babylonian sack of the city – sanctuary provided no protection

promise some would escape, some would be delivered and place of deliverance would be Mt. Zion – not in Judah, not Jerusalem, but Mt. Zion

pictures place of deliverance from God’s wrath as well as that of Babylonians – those who have right heart and are in right place have nothing to fear

on Mount Zion will be holiness

reference here to more than geographical location – more important, what it stands for: place of worship of true God, Yahweh

yes, Jerus. temple would be rebuilt, site purified and rededicated to proper worship – especially important for returning exiles

place of worship also where followers of true God instructed in ways of holiness, increase in personal holiness thru means of grace

on Mount Zion will be blessing

one more connection with the church – is place of blessing: where God meets with his people with intention of blessing

not tied to geography, building style or appointments – Mt. Zion ultimately stands for all places where body of believers gather and worship true God

promise for first hearers included those concepts in addition to promise of restoration to the land following 70 year exile

also assured them when exiles did return, would be to place where some of brethren already lived… those who escaped

D. Edom no exception v.18

Jacob and Joseph will prevail

Jacob = Judah; Joseph = Israel; God will surely preserve a faithful remnant from among all tribes of Israel through their exile

light may be dim, even barely discernible but God will maintain the fire, he will not quench the flame because he has purpose for them – “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench;” (Isa. 42:3)

Esau will be consumed

may be ascendant at time of Obadiah’s ministry but would not continue that way forever – in fact, appears God intends to use his people in downfall of Edom — would happen certainly if not immediately

utter destruction – no survivor

as a people, Edom would be obliterated – no longer self-governing, no longer even distinct people group; many would lose lives, remainder assimilated into surrounding people groups

for real??

is that just on God’s part? absolutely, God can never act unjustly – to maintain his righteous justice, must deal justly with his enemies; after all, they would be happy if God died

except for those who were assimilated/adopted into Jacob – once part of true people of God, no longer under threat of judgment

We must do our part – present a right view of God to saved and lost alike. Esp. the lost, do our best to be like Evangelist of Pilgrim’s Progress – flee the wrath to come!


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