Whose Kingdom Is It?
Mighty God, I lift my heart in praise to You. You created me, redeemed me, and will lead me into the future.
Read Obadiah 1:15-21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The Kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God in our minds and hearts, our relationships and responsibilities, and the issues of righteousness and justice in society” (Lloyd John Ogilvie).
What appeals to you about a painting, whether an original in a museum or a copy on your wall? Is it the style or the subject? Occasionally the frame can be as important as the painting! I suggest this to be the case here. This passage is framed by two remarkable sentences. Verse 15 begins, “The day of the Lord is near for all nations,” and v. 21 ends with, “And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.” Why are these two sentences so very, very profound?
Obadiah understood these sentences to entail the destruction of Edom as a people. Indeed, the Israelites are the fire that will consume Edom (18). Even within this oppressive and violent expectation, there is an important moral point. It is not unrestrained violence; rather, it is the just retribution of God, “As you have done, it will be done to you” (15). The destructive fire is actually God using Israel as his instrument of judgment (See Deut. 28:24). The judgment is not restricted to Edom but involves others, such as the Philistines (19).
These two framing sentences actually take us much further than Obadiah realized. Cain was protected by God, and Esau and Jacob were reconciled. In the end, as we know through Christ, and as many psalms and some prophetic passages make clear, the day of the Lord is–for all nations–not only a time of destruction but an opportunity for new life. It is to all nations that the gospel of God’s grace and reconciliation must be taken before judgment falls (Matt. 28:19,20). This passage challenges us to evaluate our attitudes and, for some of us, our actions towards other nations, even those that might threaten us. Do we stay with Obadiah or follow the theme through to its unfolding with Jesus, the true Servant of God?
List any nations or groups that seem a threat to you; pray for their peace and for those who take the Gospel to them.
Lord, I want Your Kingdom to come in my life, in my family, in my church, and in my nation. I pray it may come in other nations as well.
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