30 July 2016

Stone 29 - Obadiah and Jonah

Let's take a look at two more short books and see what message from the Lord they bring: Obadiah and Jonah.

While it is the smallest book of the prophets, it packs a powerful message to the people: A message of pride. The book begins with a judgement against Edom. In verse four we read about how the nation of Edom "seems to soar like an eagle" but even so they will be brought down.

**This makes me think of the saying about bringing someone down off of their high horse.

We also have many references to Esau here. Verse six, verse eight, verse nine, verse 18, verse 19, and verse 21 all mention the name of Esau. Remember Esau from Genesis? That is the guy. He was the beginning of the Edomites. You will also notice references to Jacob here in Obadiah's message. Verse 10, verse 17, and verse 18 all mention the name of Jacob and verses 10 and 12 use the term brother to connect Esau with Jacob.

**Hopping into the time machine we can read in Genesis 25:23 about the two nations in Rebekah's womb who were named Jacob and Esau. In Genesis 25:30 we read how Esau got the name Edom and in Genesis 36:9 Esau is called the father of the Edomites.

**Now look at Genesis 32:28 - God gives Jacob the name Israel.
In Genesis 27:41 it is stated that Esau held a grudge against Jacob. Now perhaps I am reaching a bit far but I find it interesting that the Edomites (Esau) as a nation continue to be at odds with the nation of Israel (Jacob).

So Obadiah talks about Esau and Jacob, Edom and Israel. Edom takes advantage of the situation rebellious Israel has found itself in. Israel is busy being handed over to the enemy and Edom sweeps in to gloat. In verse 15 we read that Edom will get exactly what they deserve based on what they have done. The prideful, high and mighty attitude of the Edomites would come crashing down.

In the last few verses we read about Israel and the blessing as they are restored to the area. Let us take note that in the end good triumphs - the goodness of God not the goodness of mankind.

Please enjoy the video on Obadiah from the folks at Join the Bible Project.

This book, while short, provides a wonderful narrative that reveals so much about human nature. Jonah is one of those names from the Bible with which, it seems, many people are familiar. I think this is in large part due to the account of the great fish event - but do we know the whole story?

We begin with God calling Jonah to go to Nineveh (modern day Iraq) to preach a message. Rather than obedience, Jonah chooses to run from God by hopping on a ship and travelling in the opposite direction to a place called Tarshish which would have been in modern day Spain.

While at sea, a huge storm ravages the ship and the crew comes to blame Jonah for their predicament. Jonah tells the crew to toss him overboard in order to be rid of the problem. Unfortunately for Jonah, his desire to die was not to be granted. Enter the great fish. Jonah is there for three days and nights (Jonah 1:17).

**If God can do something as amazing as create the universe and everything within it, I think this is possible for God as well. Thing is... that is not the focus of the message... Let's continue.

Jonah cries out to the Lord, grateful for saving him and agrees to do what God asks. The great fish spits him out and Jonah then travels to Nineveh and delivers the short message that in 40 days Nineveh would be overthrown.

The people of Nineveh repent and God spares them the disaster which really upsets Jonah.

Jonah is angry because God spared the people of Nineveh - his enemies. He knew God was good and merciful but Jonah, in his heart wanted disaster for Nineveh. So Jonah heads out to the countryside and watches the city (Jonah 4:5). God has a plant grow up and provide some shade which Jonah likes (Jonah 4:6). God takes away the plant the next day (Jonah 4:7).

So God asks Jonah if he is angry about the plant and he replies in the affirmative (Jonah 4:9). Now God replies with a great question. You cared about the plant that you didn't even have to labor over and grow - should I not care about all these people?

**We sometimes complain when good things happen to bad people don't we? Just as God asks in Jonah 4:4 - Is it right for us to be angry?
God cares about all of his creation. He calls each and every one of us to repentance and genuine love and obedience. Check your heart. Where are you at right now?

Please enjoy the video on Jonah from the folks at Join the Bible Project.

Until next time

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