Sunday, September 03, 2006

Obadiah

I must admit that last Saturday night I was watching 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' and one of the questions was 'What is the shortest book of the Old Testament?'. It surprised me that I wasn't entirely sure and that I knew nothing about Obadiah at all.

Obadiah has one chapter of 21 verses. I read it in 'The Message'. This short prophecy goes back to Jacob and Esau. When they split up the descendants of Esau went to live in Edom. Israel was where the descendants of Jacob went to live. When Israel was taken into exile Edom watched and did nothing. For this God decided to punish them.

Obadiah lived in Edom, he was an Edomite. According to the Talmud he was the man who rescued the prophets by hiding them in caves from Jezebel. He was chosen to deliver a harsh judgement against the Edomites. It is an incredible rant about their destruction, except for the last verse when he describes how the land will be cleared and that the Kingdom will become a shining light. This one small positive aspect reminded me how even in the darkest anger there is always a beacon of hope.

"The remnant of the saved in Mount Zion
will go into the mountains of Esau
and rule justly and fairly,
a rule that honors God's Kingdom."

Thus ends today's sermon.

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