Pride Comes Before the Fall

Obadiah 1:1-4

"The pride of your heart has deceived you…”

Obadiah 1:3a

An Introduction to Obadiah

The book of Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. This book is probably written soon after the armies of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. as part of their conquest. The words in Obadiah are addressed to the Edomites.

But who are the Edomites? Edomites are a group of people with very close ties to the Israelites as they share a common ancestry. They were both descendants of Isaac’s sons. The Israelites were the descendants of Jacob, whereas Esau’s descendants were the Edomites.

The Bible records multiple instances where the nation of Israel and Edom were in conflict with each other. In each instance of conflict we see that it was a pattern that was repeated from their forefathers Jacob and Esau. (Gen 27)

Because of the constant enmity between Edom and Israel, it was not surprising that during the Babylonian conquest the Edomites helped capture fleeing Israelites and handed them over to the Babylonians. And as a reward for helping the Babylonians they invited the Edomites to plunder and pillage the Israelites.

As a result of their actions, God was angered. This was because God had chosen Israel to be His promised nation and Edom was to serve Israel. In fact, God had already chosen Israel (Jacob) as His own before they were born, “the older (Esau) shall serve the younger (Jacob)” (Gen 25:23, Isa 14:1, 41:8, Ps 135:4). The Edomites should be helping the Israelites because of their relations with each other. However, because of their pride, they instead chose to participate in Israel’s destruction. God thus saw the actions of Edom as going against Him, for Israel is God’s chosen people.

While Israel disobeyed God and deserved judgment (God knew Babylon would take them into captivity), Edom was also responsible for its wicked deeds. God also said He will judge those who go against Israel (Isaiah 41:11)

Edom’s Pride

In verse 3 we see that is because of Edom’s pride that brought about God’s judgment. It is this pride that led Edom to believe that they were self-sufficient. The source of their pride came from Edom’s trust in their dwelling place. Edom was situated among the mountains. This served as a natural barrier and stronghold.

Why was this something they took pride in?

One of the military tactics in those times was to secure the higher ground in order to have an advantage over the enemy. Because of where they were situated, the Edomites naturally have the high ground to defend themselves and thus were thought to be virtually impossible to defeat in their home territory. Because of that they have a false sense of security and self-sufficiency . They thought they were out of sight and out of reach. And hence they thought to themselves “who can bring me down to the ground?”

The Edomites trusted in their self-sufficiency that no one could harm them. To them there were no repercussions in attacking Israel (Isaiah 41:11) but they seem to have forgotten who God is. Even though they shared a common history with Israel and would know the God of the Israelites, they still trusted in their own strength.

The Edomites’ actions against Israel is a clear example of the saying that “pride comes before a fall”. It is because of their pride that brought the impending judgment they were about to receive. What was their judgment?

Edom’s Judgment

In verse 2 we see that God declared that He would make the nation of Edom small. God would humble the nation of Edom by destroying them completely. The Edomites thought no one could destroy them because of the apparent security of their dwelling place. They thought they were indestructible. However, as they indulged themselves in their pride, they forgot that God still rules. They forgot that God is more than able to destroy them completely.

The Edomites’ pride has deceived them. They lived a life where the God of Israel is non-existent. They were deceived by being contented with the allies that they have gained, the security of their nation and the wealth that they had gain . They trusted in their false sense of self-sufficiency. It blinded them from the fact that God that rules the earth and as a result they will be judged for going against God’s chosen nation.

Are we like the Edomites? Do we sometimes blind ourselves in our pride?

What We Were

Our lives before following Christ shows our tendency to exalt ourselves. Some may ask when did we exalt ourselves? We exalt ourselves when we put our trust in our abilities and in the resources that we are given. We would even boast in our abilities as though they were the result of our own achievements (James 4:13-14). When we are prideful and self-sufficient we would think that we do not need God! We were just like the Edomites!

Anyone who thinks that he can continue rebelling against God by hiding behind earthly security, are sorely mistaken. It is clear that those who take pride in themselves and resist God are destined for destruction (Rom 1:18). God says through Obadiah that “Though you [Edomites] soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down…” (v.4) No one can escape God’s wrath, no matter how secure they think they are.

If our pride leads us to such dire consequences, what should be our response? Before we go too far down the road like Edom, God calls us to repent of our pride in humility.(James 4:10) We are called to be humble, which is knowing the position that God has put us in. We are to remember who we are before God. This is the cure for pride: humility!

The Cure for Pride: Humility

How do we repent of our pride? Where do we begin in living a life of humility? Let us take a look at James 4:7-10.

James 4:7 tell us that we are first to submit to God. Submitting to God would mean that we do not resist God. We are to trust in what God says is true and therefore His promises hold true as well.

The devil will deceive us by showing how we are self-sufficient, but we are called to resist the devil’s lies. The way by which we resist the devil is through submitting to God. The command to submit is given to show that we are to seek wisdom from God rather than relying on our own ability. The more we trust in God’s promises, the more we are able to resist.

We are then to draw near to God in verse 8. Drawing near to God requires us to devote ourselves to knowing God’s will in prayer and to faithful service to Him. But as we serve God, we must ensure that our motivation to serve Him are out of a sincere heart and not out of jealousy and selfish ambition. Therefore we wash our hands and cleanse our hearts from evil actions and impure motives.

However in order for all the above to happen it requires a changed heart. We once indulged in sin and resisted God. But because there is a change in heart the sin that originally brings us joy, now grieves us. This realization would drive us to repentance (2 Cor 7:10).

Humility does not come to us naturally. It is revealed to us from God. A non-believer would not come to the conclusion that we are fully dependent on God naturally. He is unable to come to that conclusion naturally because it is a truth that needs to be spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). God needs to work in his heart in order that he might understand his predicament and see his need for Him.

If you think your power or abilities can save you from God’s judgment, like the prideful Edomites, then repent before you are set for destruction. And godly repentance begins with humility.

Therefore humble yourself before God, and He will exalt you (James 4:10).

– The End –

God’s Utter Destruction of Edom

Obadiah 1:5-10

How Esau has been pillaged, his treasures sought out!

Obadiah 1:6

Obadiah pronounced God’s judgment on Edom in the first part of his prophecy (vv. 1-4). It highlighted that the Edomites could not escape from God’s wrath. Even as they took pride in the security of their city, God says that it will not stand against destruction from His wrath.

The first 4 verses spoke of how Edom had been set for destruction. Now in our main passage, from verses 5 to 10, God speaks of the thoroughness of Edom’s destruction.

No possessions could save them

Verses 5 and 6 are meant to contrast each other.

“If thieves came to you,

if plunderers came by night—

how you have been destroyed! —

would they not steal only enough for themselves?

If grape gatherers came to you,

would they not leave gleanings?”

Obadiah 5

Obadiah starts off this section of his charge against Edom using two similar illustrations. When thieves steal from a house at night, they will only steal as much as they can carry. But the house will still have some possessions left in them. In the same way, grape gatherers who harvest grapes have a habit of leaving some grapes on the vine. Either because the gatherers leave it for the poor to glean, or they just simply missed out on harvesting some grapes. In essence, those who take will leave some things behind.

In contrast, when the other nations pillage Edom, Edom will be left with nothing.

“How Esau has been pillaged,

his treasures sought out!”

Obadiah 6

Edom’s thorough and complete destruction will include being stripped of all their possessions. Some translations mention that even Edom’s “hidden treasures” will be taken away. They can try to hide their most treasured possessions. But they will still be thoroughly ransacked with nothing left behind.

Edom may have possessed much, but they could not depend on their possessions to save them from destruction . But the extent of their destruction is not only limited to their material possessions.

No friends could save them

“All your allies have driven you to your border;

those at peace with you have deceived you;

they have prevailed against you;

those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—

you have no understanding.”

Obadiah 7

Edom’s judgment would also come in the form of the destruction through their closest “friends”. They were the nations that had economic and political alliances with Edom. Edom might have taken pride in their powerful allies to protect them from God’s destruction.

But God says that even Edom’s allies will betray them. These were nations who had peace treaties with Edom. The fact that that Edom’s allies were eating bread with Edom showed that they were in a very close political, and maybe even economic, relationship. They were the ones whom Edom would have relied on for support in the event of any conflict or crisis.

But God says that these will be the very people who will bring about Edom’s destruction. And it will be carried through deception and betrayal. Edom will be thoroughly destroyed and pillaged, but they could not depend on their allies for help . In fact, their destruction will be carried out by the hands of their friends.

No earthly wisdom nor might could save them

“[8] Will I not on that day, declares the LORD,

destroy the wise men out of Edom,

and understanding out of Mount Esau?

[9] And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,

so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.”

Obadiah 8–9

Edom might then have taken pride in the wisdom of their advisors, or the might of their army to protect them from God’s destruction. In fact, according to some scholars, Edom was well-known as a nation filled with wisdom at that time (cf Jer 49:7). With their wisdom and military might, the Edomites thought that they will not see destruction.

But God says that He will destroy their idea of wisdom and understanding. They would not be able to rely on their worldly wisdom to escape their predicament . In fact, one scholar commented that “the Edomites do not even realize that their end is near.” [1]

God also says that Edom’s mighty warriors will be utterly destroyed. The word “dismayed” in verse 9 can also be translated as “be shattered” or “dashed to pieces”. The NIV translates that same word as “terrified”. On the day of Edom’s destruction, the Edomites will stand helpless as they watch their wise men and military shattered to pieces and totally demoralized. As a result, every Edomite will be slaughtered, down to the last man.

This is the severity of Edom’s destruction. Not only were they humiliated and despised, but they will be “cut off forever” (v 10). This phrase means that they will never be able to rise again as a nation. This is the thorough, destructive wrath of God against His enemies. How frightening it is to be the target of the utter destruction from God’s wrath!

Nothing could have saved us

The fact is that we were the target of such a terrifying wrath. Paul writes that we were once dead in sin and “were by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2:3). This means that all of us were sinful in nature ever since we were born. We were God’s enemies right from the start of our lives (cf Rom 5:10). Therefore, because of God’s holy nature, and because we have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23), we deserved to be targets of God’s wrath.

No sinner can escape destruction , even if they have every reason to feel secure (1 Thess 5:3). Doesn’t this sound similar to the Edomites? The natural conclusion to our lives as sinners was the inevitable and inescapable punishment of eternal destruction, away from God’s presence and glory (2 Thess 1:9). Like Edom, there is nothing that we can rely on to save us from God’s eternal wrath. No possessions, no allies, and no mental or physical might could have saved us. The utter destruction of Edom was meant to show sinners a taste of the destruction that they were destined for. We had no hope of deliverance from the wrath we were under.

Only God can save us

And yet, God gave us hope. He not only gave us a way out from His eternal, inescapable and sure punishment, He made that way out secure. Jesus Christ came in the flesh to deliver us from God’s wrath! He came to take on the payment for our sins (1 John 2:2), and thus freed us from the destruction that came with God’s wrath (Romans 5:9). God gave us faith in Him as a gift, so that we might be saved (Eph 2:8)!

Through Jesus Christ’s work and God’s gift of faith to us, we can look forward to experiencing God’s presence and glory firsthand for all eternity (Eph 2:6)! We who once had no hope of deliverance now have hope in Jesus Christ.

Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, may this lead us to deeper and more joyful worship of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. As you meditate on the destruction you were destined for, and the hopeless situation you were saved from, may you come to realize how precious your gift of salvation is. May the Holy Spirit grant you a deeper appreciation of the depth of His love for His chosen people. And may you find your security only in your faith in God and your Saviour Jesus Christ.

[1] B. Dicou, Edom, Israel’s Brother and Antagonist: The Role of Edom in Biblical Prophecy and Story, JSOTSup 169 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1994), 27. Cited by Smith, B. K., & Page, F. S. (1995). Amos, Obadiah, Jonah (Vol. 19B). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

– The End –

Sin Against Brothers

Obadiah 1:11-14

On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.

Obadiah 1:11

Sinning against a brother

We come to the point in our passage where we see Edom’s atrocities against the Israelites. This comes just after Obadiah’s condemnation of the Edomites where he just warned them that they would be cut off forever because of the violence done to the Israelites. (v.10)

Something else to note in verse 10 is that the Edomites and the Israelites were related to one another. Obadiah describes them as being brothers since both groups of people were descendants of the brothers Jacob and Esau. Brothers may fight and have their disagreements, but Edom went beyond that and plundered Israel, taking full advantage of their state of weakness and utilizing it for their own gain. Their actions and attitudes were described to be, at best, unbrotherly. So what did Edom do that was so grievous against Israel to warrant such a prophecy that they would be cut off forever?

Unbrotherly actions that bring the wrath of God

Edom is first described as having “stood aloof” (v.11). On the day when Babylon defeated Israel and plundered her, Edom did nothing for their Isrealite brothers. This is the first indictment against the Edomites, that they were taking a stance of non-involvement.

The term “aloof” in Hebrew also carries the meaning of opposition. The charge against Edom is not merely that they did nothing to help Israel, but that their non-interference was akin to being enemies, opposing Israel.

Their actions were similar to that of the priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite purposefully walked down the other side of the path, avoiding the man beaten by robbers, and did nothing to help. Despite their high status in Jewish society, they were described as being un-neighbourly compared to the Samaritan. With Edom refusing to come to the aid of those in need, Obadiah’s charge was that it is the same as rendering the harm themselves.

Similarly, we may be guilty of standing aloof. Sometimes we may be too engrossed and busy with our lives, our work, or even church activities that we do not pay attention to those who are in need. It may even be people in need within our own community; children of single moms who may need a father figure, retirees in need of company, new believers in need of discipleship. God expected two people groups to act neighbourly towards one another, how much more would He expect of His church? Do not turn a blind eye towards your brothers.

Unbrotherly attitudes that bring the wrath of God

Next comes 8 prohibitions in v.12-14; these were the apparent attitudes of the Edomites when they were plundering Israel. Such attitude towards the misfortune of others is bad enough, let alone having such thoughts towards a brother.

One of the attitudes of Edom was having a sense of superiority over Israel in comparison to themselves. This can be seen in the prohibition of “do not boast.” Where the word in Hebrew for “boasting” carries a sense of “making yourself out to be great with your mouth.”

Such may be our sinful tendencies as we self-evaluate in light of people we view with contempt. We elevate ourselves in light of their misfortune and think of ourselves as superior to them. Doing so is sinful. And God’s judgement looms over the people who think this way. God’s judgement shows us that Edom’s opinion of itself was premature and inaccurate and that God himself will have the final say.

Another attitude that Obadiah brings up against the Edomites was their greed for what the Israelites had. This can be seen where he warns them with the prohibition “Do not loot his wealth” (v.13). Edom took advantage of Israel’s vulnerability and went in to loot them right after the Babylonians had already rampaged through the city.

A warning to the enemies of God

One of the purposes of these warnings to Edom was for them to see the lengths to which God would go to defend His people. And this message still holds true today! Yes, it serves as a warning against those who are boastful and greedy. But these warnings are also against those who are enemies of God’s people. Raising a hand against those whom God has chosen will only result receiving His wrath. See what God says of his people in the book of Zechariah.

For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye. (Zechariah 2:8)

The people of God are the apple of His eye. We are not standing on the side of Edom. Because of what Jesus has done, we now stand on the side of His people whom he defends passionately and completely. Once you have been far away but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

But if you are not sure on which side of judgement you stand, I urge you to take the matters of the faith seriously. A terrifying and sever punishment awaits those who are the enemies of God, and a merciful and gracious deliverance from that wrath for those who love Him. Do not ignore the exaltations of Paul, as we re-examine ourselves in the days to come.

If you belong to the people of God, those whom God favours, protects and defends. Be encouraged, for this is the fate awaiting your enemies; those who treat you with contempt because of Christ, those who oppose God and look down on you: Total and complete annihilation.

– The End –

Eagle Edom Will Come Down

Adapted from John Piper's sermon

Obadiah 1:15-18

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you, your deeds shall return on your own head.

Obadiah 1:15

Edom's Pride

When a person is in the bondage of pride, he takes whatever opportunity he can to exalt himself over others. Nations, adults, and little children have this in common: apart from the grace of God we all tend to derive pleasure from another person's failure. It soothes our inadequacies and magnifies our successes. Edom relished the destruction of Judah, stood aloof, gloated, boasted, looted, and cut off the stragglers.

Obadiah and his people knew that their own distress and calamity were deserved. Judah had sinned, and God had promised judgment, as Habakkuk had said. But they also knew that Edom, too, was guilty. But Edom should have seen God's judgment on Judah and trembled. She should have humbled herself and repented of her own pride and cried out to the Lord for mercy, lest she fall prey to a similar fate (cf. Luke 13:1–5). But instead she gloated. And God reveals to Obadiah that he will not let this sin go unpunished.

Obadiah looks into the future and sees the great and terrible day of the Lord coming, when all accounts will be settled. But, in typical prophetic perspective, Obadiah does not distinguish between the more immediate historical judgments of God upon Edom and the final day of judgment at the end of the age. The near future and the distant future merge in the prophet's vision. For what matters is not so much the timing of the judgment, but that justice is going to be achieved : the violent nation will not boast forever. Very soon the recompense will come, and after that all the nations will render an account to God.

In verse 18, Israel is portrayed as a fire and a flame that burns and consumes Edom completely, leaving no survivors. And in God’s sovereign justice, he will judge his enemies. Obadiah prophesied that no remnant of Edom will be left alive. Therefore, those who remain unrepentant in their pride and violence will face complete destruction in the time of God’s judgment.

Hope for Those in Zion

From verse 17, Obadiah assures the people of Judah that on the day of the Lord there will be hope for those in Zion. Since Judah had recently been driven into exile for her unbelief, and since judgment was coming upon Edom and the nations because of their pride and violence, we must assume that the people who escape God's judgment are those who humble themselves and trust God for his mercy.

Five Lessons

In conclusion now, let me draw out five brief lessons which will affect the way we live. First, God rules in this world right now and turns the course of nations and history as he pleases. If this were not so, he could not promise Judah that he would cut off Edom and establish Jacob. No Christian should have the jitters that the world is careening out of control toward a meaningless catastrophe. We may feel like people tossed around in an old stagecoach pulled by six wild horses, but fear not, God sits serenely over our heads, and the hands that made the world hold the reins.

Second, pride is deceptive. Obadiah 1:3: "The pride of your heart has deceived you." Pride makes us think we are independent, self-sufficient, invulnerable. Pride is based on a lie. The person who yields to the temptation of pride surrenders his capacity to think and feel and act without deception. Pride distorts every area of thought and life. My own conviction is that most of our perplexity regarding moral and theological issues is owing to the distortions caused by our pride, not to the complexity of the issue.

Third, God abominates pride and will bring it down. Obadiah 1:4: "Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, thence I will bring you down, says the Lord." Or as Jesus says in Luke 16:15, "What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."

Fourth, therefore proud nations and proud individuals will reap what they sow. Verse 15: "As you have done, it shall be done to you, your deeds shall return on your own head." If we choose in our pride to live without God, then he will grant us our independence in the day of the Lord. And he will not be our refuge or our righteousness in that day. And our self-confidence will be like a feather in a hurricane when God's wrath is revealed from heaven (cf. Psalm 76:7).

Fifth, God has made a way of escape and salvation from his wrath. Verse 17: "In Mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy." Those who have fled from the wickedness of pride to the holiness of humility will find refuge on the day of the Lord. Zion, the city of God, shall be holy because it will be filled not with people who never sinned, but with people who have been broken and humbled by their sin and have thrown themselves for mercy on Jesus and have come to love him more than anything and any person in the world, because "he loved us and gave himself for us."

– The End –

Piper, J. (2019). Eagle Edom Will Come Down. Retrieved from https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/eagle-edom-will-come-down

Living in Light of God’s Restoration and Rule

Obadiah 1:19-21

Saviours shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.

Obadiah 1:21

God Will Restore His People

We come to the final section of Obadiah. As we recall, the book of Obadiah was probably written soon after the armies of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem (586 B.C.). In Obadiah’s prophecy, he had pronounced judgment on Edom. This was because Edom had helped to capture fleeing Israelites to turn them over to the Babylonians. Edom caused God’s covenant people, the Israelites, to fall to the hands of a foreign enemy. The Israelites were living in captivity in Babylon as a result of being betrayed by the Edomites.

As grim as the situation was for the Israelites, Obadiah offered hope in his prophecy, that the lands that were once captured by the Judah’s and Israel’s enemies will be repossessed by Judah and Israel once again (v19-20). This will take place in the day of the Lord (v15). Thus, the Israelites who were exiled held the hope be delivered from their enemies and to be restored to their lands.

Looking back, we know that the Israelites had been exiled as part of God’s judgment on them. They have been an idolatrous and unfaithful people who rebelled against God. As a result, God allowed their captivity by the foreign nations as a means to discipline and punish them.

While God is able to discipline His people even through enemies to bring about repentance, He does not change in His sovereignty and justice. Even though God’s enemies may be allowed to bring about suffering on His people for a period of time, God will bring judgment upon them eventually for their sins and unrepentance against Him . One day, Israel will be exalted over Edom and this will display the Lord’s sovereign and almighty rule. Historically, Babylon was defeated by about 539 B.C, and the Israelite exiles were then allowed to return to their own lands. Edom eventually fell by about 500B.C. The Israelites who were once oppressed were indeed delivered from their captivity and suffering as prophesied!

Through this part of history, we see that God’s judgment of His enemies is very different to God’s judgment of His people . While God’s people may face discipline and punishment by God for their unfaithfulness against Him, they will eventually be delivered by God’s grace and mercy. This is the heart of our loving God – God carries out discipline and allows offenses on His people. He does it for their good – so that they will be restored, to turn from their sinful and unfaithful ways of idolatry and treasure Him who is of greatest worth and honor.

God Will Restore His Kingdom

In the final verse (v21), Obadiah prophesied that “saviors” shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and “the kingdom shall be the Lord’s”. The term “saviors” in this verse probably refers to the Israelite exiles who will return to Jerusalem to rule. Mount Esau will be defeated and ruled by them from Mount Zion. In addition, the meaning of “rule” (v21) implies the ability to judge, administer justice or to punish. In other words, through Obadiah’s prophecy, God promised that He will establish His rule through His people. By God’s grace and mercy, He will raise up His people to rule over His enemies.

But the Israelites who knew Obadiah’s prophecy were probably still living in captivity and oppression in Babylon when it was written. Remember, they were in captivity for about seventy years! As God’s people, they were to worship God alone and be set apart to obey Him in their daily lives. But being in captivity in a foreign land, they needed to make sense of how to be set apart for God in a foreign culture. They would have to deal and interact with the pagan culture in Babylon. Some may be forced to worship the gods in Babylon or face persecution. Others may willingly compromise to worship other gods.

But the remnant of faithful Israelites would have lived through those years holding to the hope of deliverance that Obadiah prophesied. It would take several more decades before it was fulfilled. But as the Bible has shown, the remnant was indeed preserved, and God’s kingdom continued to advance according to His will.

God Will Restore His Rule

While the book of Obadiah is a prophecy specific to Edom and Israel, we can observe several similarities in the modern world. The world today is still facing the effects of sin - we still live in a very much self-absorbed and idolatrous culture. There are still people who are like the Edomites and the Babylonians who continually reject God and trust in their self-sufficiency and the things that they own. And like the Israelites who lived in captivity in a foreign land, Christians today will continue to face oppression in the world while we seek to live in allegiance to our holy God and His word.

But unlike the Israelites, modern-day Christians are able to recount God’s faithfulness and sovereignty in fulfilling prophecies and promises over a greater span of history, through the access of both the Old and the New Testaments. From the whole counsel of the Bible, we witness God’s unchangeable character and plan amidst everything else in this world that is changing.

Furthermore, we have the privilege to know that God’s sovereign plan culminated in His Son Jesus Christ! Consider Christ, who was subjected to the greatest oppression, offenses and persecution by His enemies, even unto death, but he endured the weight of it all “for the joy set before him” (Heb 12:2). Through His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled His Father’s will and won a triumphant victory over the power of sin and death for His people.

Thus, Christ is the ultimate Savior who will establish and rule God’s kingdom and people. Through Jesus, death has been defeated and we have been delivered from slavery to sin. Through Jesus, we have been restored to God and no longer face eternal condemnation. Through Jesus, we are spiritually raised up, adopted as God’s children and are heirs of God’s kingdom to rule with Christ. We are also ruled by Christ, because He is the One who redeemed us from sin and death.

The Rule of Christ

We often hear Christians refer to Jesus as Lord, but do we really understand what that implies? Do we simply say it as a title? Hopefully not.

To live under the lordship of Christ means that we live our lives according to His rule. This means that we will seek His will and obey His commandments, because He is our Ruler. And because Christ has defeated the power of sin and death, living under His rule also means that our lives will be revolutionized to cast off sinful patterns and attitudes at whatever cost it may take us. We would also live in a manner that shows that we treasure Him as Ruler, obeying what He commands: Repent from your sins. Do not love the world. Consider all things as loss to gain Me. Abide in Me. Go and make disciples. Teach others to obey My commandments. Love one another. Love your enemies.

These are just some of His commandments that we know from His Word. But the most encouraging part is this: we are to obey His commandments in the face of oppression, just as Jesus Himself did! Now how do we do that? It cannot be by our own strength. Rather, we trust that God will provide what we need as His heirs to do His will, just as He did for Christ to redeem us.

Brothers and sisters, let us not lose hope in the face of oppression and offenses. The same God who fulfilled the prophecy of Obadiah will continue to advance and restore His kingdom and rule until it is fully consummated. And we trust that it will be good, whatever comes our way. And as Horatio Spafford famously wrote in his hymn, it will be well with our soul.

As for now, let us live in the anticipatory hope of our Christ’s return. Let us not forget that Jesus is living, interceding and ruling from His throne. And when He returns, the kingdom of God shall fully be the Lord’s.

– The End –