~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Obadiah 1:1-21 ~ Revelation 4:1-11
Psalm 132:1-18 ~ Proverbs 29:24-25
Old Testament - Today we start and finish the book of Obadiah - the shortest book in the Old Testament! Obadiah was a prophet from Judah, who prophesied against Edom, Israel's neighbor to the southeast of Jerusalem & the Salt Sea. Edom was a descendent of Esau - and Israel a descendent of Jacob. Esau & Jacob were the twin sons of Isaac and fought during their lifetimes, and the fighting of the nations of Israel & Edom continued throughout the Old Testament. A quick flashback of Jacob & Esau is here from Genesis 25:23 - "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."
There is some uncertainty over when Obadiah prophesied. It was either approx 853-841 B.C. when Edom rebelled against Judah during the reign of Jehoram - in which case Obadiah would be a contemporary of Elisha. Or, more likely, it was approx 605-586 B.C. when Babylon was attacking Jerusalem - in which case Obadiah would be a contemporary of Jeremiah. A good overview of the book of Obadiah is at this link, at this link, and at this link.
Verse 15 jumped out at me in Obadiah today - "As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you." This is a good reminder to do unto others, as we would have done unto us.... Or, what goes around, comes around. :) I read a bit into Obadiah today that God was upset that Edom sat around and did nothing while Israel was attacked. They could have done something, but did nothing. Is it possible that in our world today people are being attacked - or hurt - or starving - or dying of AIDS. If so, should we be doing something about it?
New Testament - Revelation chapter 4 today is an amazing chapter, where we get a great glimpse of worship in heaven! Verse 3 jumps out today with a great glimpse of God's glory - "The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones--jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow." You'll note that there is not a clear description of God, as he is often described as dwelling in an "unapproachable light". But I think the gemstones and the emerald rainbow are pretty good starters for envisioning God's glory... Can you imagine seeing God face to face some day? Does this make your heart leap with excitement and joy?
Verse 4 jumps out in today's readings as well - "Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads." It is said that these 24 thrones represent both the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles of Jesus. Thus, representing all righteous and redeemed men and women before and after Jesus' life.
Verses 6 & 7 will remind us of the seraphs in Isaiah and the cherubim in Ezekiel - "In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings had the form of a lion; the second looked like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth had the form of an eagle with wings spread out as though in flight." These creatures are said to represent aspects of the attributes of God. The lion representing majesty & power. The ox representing faithfulness. The human representing intelligence. And the eagle representing sovereignty.
Verses 10 & 11 is a beautiful look at elders worshiping God! "The twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one who lives forever and ever. And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created." Imagine yourself in heaven with a crown of some sort. Will you lay down your crown before the throne of God and worship God in this same manner? Do you believe that God is worthy to receive all glory, and honor, and power? Do you believe that it was for God's pleasure that everything exists and was created?
Psalms - Psalm 132 is a fantastic psalm of the King David era! It is thought that this Psalm may have been written for the dedication of the temple or it may have been used in a coronation ceremony. Verses 4 & 5 jumped out at me today as demonstrating David's dedication to God - "I will not let my eyes sleep nor close my eyelids in slumber until I find a place to build a house for the LORD, a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel." What in your life is keeping you awake at night? Is it something of God's will? Or perhaps something worldly (not of God's will)? Will you pursue God's will in your life, and leave worldly things behind you? Will you pursue building "a sanctuary for God" in your life above all else?
Proverbs 29 verse 25 is a great reminder to "respect all, but fear none" - except for God that is... :)
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!