Summary: It’s dangerous to laugh at God’s people, because God is on their side. So the people of God can have confidence in facing opposition
According to Jeff Kennet, Christians are "People of the Past". That’s what he said. He said it when Christians raised objections to the Crown Casino. "To object to something like that," he said, "meant you were out of step with the community." How could you possibly object to something that would be such a revenue raiser for the state? That would bring so many tourists, particularly overseas tourists, to Victoria. Just because a few families will suffer untold misery, just because gambling is so addictive. So what! If you’re a Christian, he said, you’re living in the past. So get with it! Go down to the casino and enjoy yourself.
I wonder how you feel when you hear people say things like that. That Christianity is a spent force. Do you get angry, or does it worry you? There are times when I find myself wondering if maybe they’re right. Maybe we are out of date. Are you old enough to remember the time when if the church said something the politicians took notice? Do you remember the time when the Liberal party, in particular, espoused Christian principles. You could almost rely on their policies being in line with Christian values. But not any more. Nowadays no-one cares what Christians think. As long as they’re there to do the social welfare jobs the government doesn’t want to pay for.
But it isn’t just in the political field. If you’ve done any training in the sciences you’ll know that there’s a deep belief by many in that area that Christianity is irrelevant to our understanding of the world. We don’t need God, because we’re finding out all we can know through science. There’s the idea that science has all the answers, and in general those answers conflict with a Christian understanding of the world.
Well, despite the fact that there are all sorts of holes in that particular argument, can you see how hard it is for us to maintain our confidence in Christianity as a way of life. What if they’re right? What if Christianity is old hat? I’m sure you’re aware that Jeff Kennet isn’t alone in espousing such a claim. We’re surrounded by people who’ll argue that what we’re doing and saying and believing here today has no place in the 20th century, let alone the 21st.
Well, I want to let you in on a secret. People have said that sort of thing before. In fact they’ve been saying it for thousands of years. Writing off the people of God as not worth worrying about.
Today I want us to take a look at the book of Obadiah, the shortest book in the OT. One you’ve probably never even noticed, and if you did, you may have wondered why God let it be included in the OT Scriptures. As we look at it, I hope we’ll see that it’s talking about people who have made exactly the same mistake - of writing off the people of God in a similar way to the way people do today, or even worse.
Obadiah is an unusual prophet, in that there’s nothing in the book to tell us who he is or when he’s writing. Most of the other prophets make this clear but Obadiah just announces a vision that he’s received. Which makes it a bit tricky to work out what he’s talking about doesn’t it?