Summary: There is no middle ground in our battle with evil. We must pick a side and take a stand. Truth demands a choice. “Aim at heaven and you’ll get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you’ll get neither.”

Major News from Minor Prophets

Obadiah: God cares for His own

This prophecy is against Edom. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the older twin brother of Jacob. They were constantly at odds with Jacob’s descendants. They refused to let Moses and the Israelites pass through their land. In fact, Edom was always ready to aid any nation wanting to attack Israel.

When Rome conquered Israel, Caesar made Herod, an Edomite, King of the Jews.

King Herod was a descendant of the Edomites He ruled as governor of Galilee from 47 to 37 B.C. He was then promoted to rule as king over all Palestine from 37 to 4 B.C. He became famous for building cities, fortresses, and temples throughout the land but generally opposed by the people because of his Edomite ancestry.

In 40 B.C. Jewish rebels and Persians had joined together to push the Romans and Herod their puppet king out of Palestine. But in 37 B.C. Herod came back with the Romans and again took control of Jerusalem. Ever since the Jews had shown a continual desire to overthrow Herod.

There was a dark and cruel streak in Herod’s character that showed itself increasingly as he grew older. His mental instability, moreover, was fed by the intrigue and deception that went on within his own family.

When Rome destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the Edomites were wiped out.

We know nothing about Obadiah. His name means “Servant of the Lord.”

He shows up to deliver God’s message against Edom.

But Obadiah’s brief walk-on appearance has its place in the Word of God.

Obadiah’s Message: it’s dangerous to try to make it in life without the Lord.

1. God promises deliverance

Obadiah 1:17—“But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance.”

You know, that’s the meaning of the word salvation—to be delivered. So God’s promise of deliverance is actually an assurance of salvation for the faithful.

No matter how heavy my burden, if I take it to God, He will deliver me; no matter how great the temptation, if I take it to God, He will deliver me.

The Psalmist offers this reassurance to the faithful, “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most high shall abide under the tabernacle of the Almighty... surely He shall deliver you from the trap of the hunter and from persistent evil doers. He will cover you with His feathers and under His wing we will find trust...we will not be afraid of the terrors of the dark, nor of the arrows that are fired at us through the day...a thousand will fall at your side and 10,000 at your right hand, but you will be safe.”

2. God promises to make us holy

Obadiah 1:17—“But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance.”

The promise of holiness is really an assurance to the faithful that God will set us apart for a special purpose.

The promise of holiness is really a promise of justification. God has promised that if I’m faithful to Him, He will take my wrong and make me right. And I don’t know about you, but I need God’s justification. I can’t be holy on my own, but holiness is available to me through His gracious justification, which is extended to me when I am faithful to Him.

I love to read what Isaiah writes about the day God brought him into holiness.

Isaiah 6: In the same year that King Uzziah died, he saw the Lord, high and lifted up. He said that the train of God’s robe filled the Temple and, when God spoke, the power of His voice caused the doorposts to quake. He said that God was so holy that angels danced around the Temple all day just singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory.” And Isaiah said that when he saw the Lord in His holiness, he saw himself for who he really was. He said of himself, “I am ruined, for I am a man of unclean lips, from a people of unclean lips.” But God didn’t leave Isaiah in that pitiful state, but He sent an angel to him. The angel swooped down and took a live coal from off of the altar and came to Isaiah and touched his lips with the coal. And then the angel declared, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

That’s justification. When God touched us, He makes up for our short-comings; He does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. And once we are justified, our new state of holiness gives us a new purpose in life. For when Isaiah knew that he had been justified, the question was asked by God,

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