TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- OBADIAH 1:1-21;
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. His prophecies focus on the Edomite nation, descendants of Abraham’s grandson, Esau, and the rival of his other grandson, Jacob. The Edomites had a history of opposing the Jews. They rejoiced over any defeat suffered by the Israelites. Centuries later, Herod the Great, an Edomite, would order the death of babies under the age of two in Bethlehem because he was told the promised “King of the Jews” had been born.
The Edomites lived east of the Jordan and built its capital city in the red rock formations of the mountains, known as Petra.
The date of Obadiah’s prophecy is uncertain. Some believe it was given before the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, and some believe it was written after the event. The cause of Edom’s judgment is clear. They joined whatever enemy was opposing Israel because they were too small to deal with Israel themselves. They were proud, arrogant, self-assured, and unsympathetic to the descendants of their ancestor Esau’s brother.
God would use their neighbors and former allies to turn on them and drive them out of their land, Idumea.
In the first part of the prophecy (Obadiah 1:1-9), God promises to take away everything that Edom boasted in and depended on for security. Its capital city was safely built ‘in the clefts of the rock.’ The Edomites could look upon their approaching enemies from its position high in the mountains, thinking that their position was impregnable, but God promised to bring them down (Obadiah 1:4).
The Lord promised that all their riches gained from their dealings with other nations on their trade route would be plundered. Their former allies would deceive them and steal their treasures (1:5-7). Their wise men and mighty men would be cut off by slaughter (1:8-9).
Obadiah warns the Edomites that they will suffer for their long opposition to the descendants of Jacob. They are not to rejoice over Judah being taken captive. (v. 12-14).
The Day of the Lord is coming. Edom will be destroyed, and all nations will be judged. Israel will escape and possess their possessions (v.17).
The prophecy ends with a triumphant note: The exiles of Jerusalem shall return to the land and possess all the cities they were promised.
“And the kingdom shall be the Lord’s”.
G. Campbell Morgan beautifully summarizes this truth:
“The prophets of God have always insisted upon His present and active sovereignty; but they have also declared with perfect unanimity that the day will come when that sovereignty will have its perfect victory in the subjection of all things to Himself in the mind and heart and will of man. That victory is not yet. Men are in His Kingdom, but not willingly. Therefore, they know nothing of the peace and joy which are His will for them. They fight against righteousness, and so fail to find peace and joy, because righteousness fights against them. When in the final order, righteousness is the condition of human life, peace and joy will inevitably follow. That is what we pray for when we say, “Thy kingdom come.” Faith is the assurance that this prayer will be answered. These final words of Obadiah’s prophecy are the more remarkable, seeing that the burden of this message was that of the doom of Edom, the people who persistently opposed Israel, and practiced cruelty towards her. For this sin, God would bring her down from her high and proud place, and utterly despoil her; and Israel should be given possession of her rightful inheritance. Having uttered this message, the prophet rose to a greater height, and saw the outworking of the Divine Sovereignty, bringing deliverance even to Edom. Out of Zion would come to judge the Mount of Esau, and then the kingdom shall be Yahweh’s. That remains the one hope for the world and it is the one sufficient secret of confidence in all the days of darkness and travail which lead to the victory.”
I think we would do well to echo those in heaven who are citing God’s worthiness, and attributing to Him all glory, honor and power!
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – REVELATION 4:1-11
The Apostle John looks and sees an open door in heaven and a voice saying, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this.”
What follows is a vision of the majesty and authority of God represented by the radiant presence sitting on the throne. An emerald rainbow encircles the throne. (The rainbow had been given as a sign of God’s covenantal promise, and its emerald appearance suggests mercy and rest.)
The 24 elders (most likely representing the redeemed people of God- 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles) are clothed in white and have crowns on their heads. They had thrones, positions from which to share their delegated authority from the King. The power of God’s glory is evident by the lightning flashes and thunderous rumblings. Seven lamps burning before the throne and illuminating the one who sits on it represent the sevenfold spirit of God. Before the throne was what appeared to be a sea of glass, clear as crystal, separating the multitudes from God’s presence.
In the center, around the throne, were the four living creatures, covered with eyes in front and in the back, with their six wings, also covered with eyes. One was like a lion, another had the face of a man, another was like an ox, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. These four living creatures never stop ascribing to the Lord his worthiness, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
The four living creatures seem to initiate the giving of glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne. The 24 elders fall prostrate in worship whenever this happens. They lay their crowns before the Lord and say, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory, and honor, and power. For you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.”
All creation is to give God the glory and honor due Him.
Have you worshiped Your Creator today?
Here is a video of Revelation Chapter 4 with narration and artwork by Gideon Pictures
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS – PSALMS 132:1-18
God’s plan to bring His rule of righteousness to earth is made plain in this Psalm. We see King David’s determination for God to have His place, the seat of His government in their land and in their hearts, and God’s determination to bring a descendant of David’s to the throne.
As we see these desires fulfilled in the person of Christ, our hearts are encouraged.
The Davidic covenant is repeated in this Psalm:
Psalm 132:11-12 11 The LORD has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. 12 “If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.”
Is Christ enthroned as supreme in your affections? Are you resting in His sufficiency? Have you cried out for His mercy and been clothed with His salvation? Do you realize then, that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, a holy habitation for Christ in you, your exclusive hope of glory? If so, you will want to sing aloud with joy!
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS – PROVERBS 29:24-25
Proverbs 29:24-25 24 He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing. 25 The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.
Whom do you trust? Who will you choose as your friend?
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS – UZBEKISTAN
(from “Operation World Prayer Guide”)
Republic of Uzbekistan
Area: 447,400 sq. km
Fertile, irrigated mountain valleys in the east, notably the Ferghana Valley. Desert and Aral Sea in the west.
Population: 27,794,296 Annual Growth: 1.10%
HDI Rank: 119 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)
Peoples: 67 (55% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card
Official language: Uzbek Languages: 39 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
Challenges for Prayer
Uzbekistan is the strategic key to Central Asia, hence the intensifying struggle between the post-Soviet regime and the Islamist movements. The government’s “iron fist” policy is not deterring thousands of jobless young men from joining these movements. But much of the population is torn between these two and tired of the poverty, corruption, and failure to progress. Pray for genuine change, reform, and leadership that demonstrates uprightness and governs for the sake of the people. Pray that in the midst of the struggle, many may find true peace that only Jesus can give.
Tashkent is the Islamic capital of Central Asia in terms of both numbers and influence. Islam is more a part of the Uzbek cultural identity than it is a faithfully practiced religion; folk/occult practices are deeply tied into the beliefs of mostly the rural Uzbeks. Since a burst of Islamic activity soon after independence, the government has reined in most Islamic missionaries and mosque-buildings and tightly controls and monitors all Islamic activity.
PRAYER: O God, Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory! All creation worships You! And we, the people redeemed by the blood of Your Son, fall before You, yielding our lives in full surrender. Our prayer is that Your kingdom come! And may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for Your pastoral concern for the churches, Lord Jesus. Stand among us, Living Word, encouraging our souls and correcting us, shaping us, and building us up. Father, make us strong pillars upholding Your truth in the power of Your Life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.