Monday, December 21, 2015

A special people

Jacob and Esau by Raphael, 1518-1519
 Jacob and Esau - Fresco painting by Raphael, 1518-1519
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Obadiah 1-21

TO CHEW ON: "For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever." Obadiah 1:10

Do we have brothers and/or sisters with whom we quarrel? Arguments and quarrels between siblings are common. Bible brothers and sisters had their differences too.

Take Jacob and Esau. Though they were twins, they were always competing against each other. Jacob tricked Esau into giving him the birthright (the inheritance that belonged to Esau as the oldest). Then he tricked Isaac, their father, into blessing him instead of Esau. This made Esau so angry, he threatened to kill Jacob. So Jacob left home.

Over the years the descendants of Esau became the nation of Edom. Jacob’s descendants became Israel. But there was no more love between the nations of Edom and Israel than there had been between their great-great-great-... grandfathers.

When Nebuchaednezzar destroyed and looted Judah, he was joined by soldiers from Edom. It is after this event that Obadiah prophesies.  In this short book (the shortest in the Old Testament) he speaks to the Jewish people mourning over the deaths of their family members and friends and the destruction of their beloved Jerusalem

His message condemns Edom for their treatment of their 'brothers.' He lists their treacheries against the Israelites in Obadiah 11-14. He scolds them for their pride. He tells Edom that though they think their strong cities can’t be conquered, because they have mistreated the Jews they will be defeated and disappear as a nation. And this happened. After 70 A.D. there is no more mention of Edom anywhere in history.

Still today the Jews have a special place in God’s heart (Deuteronomy 26:18,19). They are the people through whom God chose to bring His Son Jesus to earth. God has promised to raise them up as a strong nation again (Deuteronomy 30:3). God promises to bless those that bless and help the Jews (Genesis 12:3).

Though we may not understand or agree with everything that modern Israel does, God’s feelings about Israel haven’t changed. This nation is still His treasured possession. It is a nation Christians everywhere love and pray for.

Dear God, please bless the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Amen.

MORE: Family conflict

"How easy it is for those we know best to become the objects of our most bitter resentment. Logically, Edom should have sided with Judah against Babylonia, but years of hatred caused emotions to override good sense. Such fractured relationships almost inevitably result from personal pride, pride that prevents our seeing the error of our own ways, pride that build barriers to block the way to reconciliation" - Timothy Mark Powell, Introduction to Obadiah, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1187.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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