(Obadiah and Nahum)
God judges evil, but He is merciful to those who seek Him.
Mat 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Question: what does it mean to seek and what are we seeking for?
Look at what the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
…….the answer is in this, “when you shall search for me with your whole heart”. Ask yourself now, What is on the throne of my heart?
While exploring two of the shortest books of prophecy in the Old Testament, today’s lesson addresses some of the most relevant and practical topics Christians face today. These are the temptation toward pride, the dangers of sin, the certainty of God’s judgement for sins unrepented of, the tendency to ignore sin’s dangers and the continuous choices that lead to separation of relationship. However, the somber tone of this lesson gives way to a sense of promise and hope in considering the promises of restoration God made to Judah. These promises remind us of the cherished promises of God made to us through Christ. Having escaped the condemnation of sin, we rest in the marvelous hope of salvation we have in Christ.
GOD JUDGES THE PROUD
A. The Proud Will Be Made Small
Oba 1:1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.
Oba 1:2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.
Oba 1:3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
…….In this prophecy first, God deals with the confidence the sinner has of being safe from righteous judgement. No man will be exempt from the judgement of God no matter the status of life that has been lived on earth. We will all come to judgement.
Oba 1:4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.
…….One of the greatest downfalls that has always be present in man is pride. All people deal with it while many let it rule. I once heard that the most dangerous aspect about pride is that the one who is controlled by it has no idea that it’s even present. How sad it is for a man to be destroyed by something that was never realized. Much of the church today has come to the point where anything that rubs against the flesh is an offense, this is what pride does. Instead of conviction settling in and the Holy Spirit given the authority to do its job, we tend to throw up defense and become offended. If it hurts a little, maybe it was supposed to. In the flesh we cannot change what cannot be seen, but in the Spirit all thing can be made righteousness!
B. Judgement and Promise
Oba 1:10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
Oba 1:11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.
…….Because Edom had looked at Jerusalem in a time they had become desolate and without, gazing at their failures as to mock them, casting lots (or gambling against their defeats and destructions, God said He would allow punishment to come their way. Not only would they be punished but they would be “cut off for ever”.
Look at this, James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” When we see our neighbor struggling, it is our duty first to offer a helping hand. Edom did the very opposite.
Oba 1:12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.
…….Apparently they had spoken in a prideful manner about the fall of Jerusalem, as if they were mightier or holier.
Oba 1:13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;
…….Not only did the Edomites gaze from afar off, but they also marched into the city to laugh and mock in their faces. They had to make it more personal as if being a part of revenge. Victory is always greatest when the opponent is able to stand over his enemy and watch it take its last breath!
Oba 1:14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
Oba 1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
…….No different that the prideful and bitter of heart Pharisees who were ready to stone the adulteress woman to death, Edom with their sins would cause them to collapse in their guilt!
Oba 1:16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.
…….This is the result of drunkenness! If any one person has a question concerning strong drink, let them refer to this! The drink will put you in a state of mind that everything is ok and no control has been lost! The drunken are oblivious to the facts that surround them. The world and its rotten desires will take all opportunity to rob everything that has ever been good in this life, even as far as searing the conscious and steal their natural affection! Edom would fall this way!
Oba 1:17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
Oba 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
Oba 1:19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
Oba 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.
Oba 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.
BEWARE OF GOD’S WRATH
A. Jealous and Avenging God
…….The prophecy of Nahum focused on the coming destruction of Nineveh. Approximately 150 years earlier, the Ninevites had responded to the preaching of Jonah with genuine repentance. However, with the passing of time they had returned to their former idolatry and sinful ways. Nineveh was the Capitol city of the Assyrian Empire, and the Assyrians were major enemies of Israel and Judah. They were fierce warriors, capable of extremes cruelty, and they destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel.
Nah 1:1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
Nah 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
…….God is a jealous God but not the jealousy derived from sin. God’s jealous anger is rooted in His holiness, which requires him to stop sinners who refuse to respond to His love and mercy.
…….Listen to what Nahum prophecies about God’s power over nature.
Nah 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit (set free) the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
…….Nahum’s prophecy shows us the mercy and long suffering of God, but at the same time shows us the power in His wrath towards those who are persistent in wickedness.
…….In a time as this when the storms are worse than ever, the earthquakes stronger and the wildfires what seem to be out of control, it is easy to say that God placed His wrath on display!
Nah 1:4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.
…….The same way God can cause the land to flourish, He can bring it to total desolation.
Nah 1:5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.
Nah 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
…….In a time like this, you would think people would realize what is going on. I’ve been rebuked before for saying the result of the elements are a showing of God’s wrath, but I still believe this way. Some of the most wicked cities in our great country are full of crime and poverty, and nature can’t seem to give it a break, while the whole time the blame is given to climate change. California has done all it can to evict God from the entire state, making the state a refuge for the wicked, and still can’t figure out why so much is going wrong. God will not tolerate sinfulness for long!
B. Sin Brings God’s Wrath
Nah 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
…….God always reminds us that in the midst of His wrath and judgement, He never forgets the ones who trust in Him. However, the Ninevites had no remorse for their sinning, but were deliberate in their idolatry, injustice and cruelty. The Assyrian Empire fell to the Babylonians in 626 BC.
Nah 1:8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.
Nah 1:9 What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.
Nah 1:10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.
Nah 1:11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the LORD, a wicked counsellor.
…….While the great judge will not hold back His fury, He will still bless those who bless Him. Just as Nineveh was the enemy of God’s people, Israel would stand back and watch it crumble and never lift a sword. (Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.) What an encouragement to those who suffer reproach by those who oppose this great Gospel!
GOD PROMISES DELIVERANCE
A. Reason To Hope
Nah 1:12 Thus saith the LORD; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.
Nah 1:13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.
…….God has a way of getting His peoples attention. Though there may be times that it seems God is far away, and the affliction from others will never end, He always delivers!
Nah 1:14 And the LORD hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.
…….Not only will he destroy the enemy but also wipe out their God’s and make them a mockery.
Nah 1:15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.
……. While the Lord recompenses His children, it is our duty to return to the vows we have once promised. We must make the commitment to live in holiness and righteousness.
B. Promise of Restoration
Nah 2:1 He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.
…….The Ninevites needed to prepare for war, but all of their preparation would be futile. They would be defeated and destroyed.
Nah 2:2 For the LORD hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches.
…….The need of the Assyrian Empire would be the elimination of a mortal enemy of Judah, and God would bless Judah with redemption and restoration.
It is important for us to be always mindful that the conflicts between good and evil in this world are manifestations of the ongoing spiritual war between good and evil. As Christians we are engaged in spiritual warfare, and we are not adequate for this by our own strength alone. By his life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ won for us the victory over sin, Satan, the world, and death. All hope we have of victorious Christian living in this evil world depends on our trust in Jesus Christ. Trust in Him always for victory.