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Obadiah 1:1-21 ~ Revelation 4:1-11 ~ Psalm 132:1-18 ~ Proverbs 29:24-25
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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." Below is clear map of where Edom was located - in modern day Jordan - in relationship to Israel:
Quick tangent - This map above, which shows the ancient city of Petra reminds me of an amazing book I read last year. It's called "Walking the Bible: A journey by land through the Five Books of Moses" by Bruce Feiler. Has anyone read this book by chance? I had a good friend give it to me several years ago, and I avoided reading it because it looked kind of long and boring... :) But it's not! It's fantastic. I cannot believe I waited years to read it. In the book Bruce writes about his journey across the land that he takes from Mt. Ararat in Turkey, where Noah's Ark was thought to have landed, through Abraham's journey in the fertile crescent to Canaan, to the Israelites going to Egypt, through the Exodus, the Sinai, the Negev, and the finally to Petra and Edom and to the edge of the Promised Land. It is an amazing modern day retracing the steps of the patriarchs! I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's a nonfiction book. And not really religious per se - though it's all about the Bible, so in my mind it was. This is a great read!
Back to Obadiah - There is some uncertainty over when Obadiah prophesied. It was either approximately 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. Verse 11 today tells us this about the reasons for Edom's punishment - "For you deserted your relatives in Israel during their time of greatest need. You stood aloof, refusing to lift a finger to help when foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem. You acted as though you were one of Israel's enemies."
Verse 15 stood out to 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? :) God was upset that Edom sat around and did nothing while their neighbor Israel was attacked. They could have done something, but did nothing. In our world today are our neighbors are being attacked - or hurt - or starving - or dying of AIDS? If so, should we be doing something about it? Should we be like the Good Samaritan, caring for our neighbor? Who is your neighbor?
New Testament - Revelation chapter 4 today is an amazing chapter, where we get a great glimpse of worship in heaven! Verses 1 & 2 are an awesome start to this chapter with John first seeing an open door in heaven and then being instantly in the Spirit! "Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said,
To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
Verse 3 stands 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 stood 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.
To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
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?
To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
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 stood out to 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 - Proverbs 29 verse 25 teaches us today: "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the LORD means safety." This is a great reminder to "respect all, but fear none" - except for God that is... :)
Worship God - Today's readings in Revelation 4:8-11 reminded me of the Chris Tomlin song "We Fall Down." Here's a great live video of Chris and Steven Curtis Chapman talking about the song and playing it together:
Do you fall down? Click here and fall down at the feet of Jesus!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.'" Revelation 4:10-11 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you will always fall down and lay your crown at the feet of Jesus. Pray that you will praise and worship Jesus giving Him all glory and honor and power.
Comments from you: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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Interesting how “lofty” heights, goals, apartments, office suites, being high up on the organization charts may cause one to “look down” on those around us. It appears that Edom fell into that trap.
3 You have been deceived by your own pride
because you live in a rock fortress
and make your home high in the mountains.
‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’
you ask boastfully.
Edom also ran afoul of God’s Words to Abram (Abraham) and Israel:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Gen 12:1-3)
But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
Edom saw the condition of Israel/Judah and thought what she saw was her final outcome. Edom failed to understand that God is over life and death; He is the God of resurrected dead things. Edom saw and judged, she judged wrongly. Let us not fail to put the God of resurrection in the midst of things we may wrongly call “dead” especially when we see that dead thing as an enemy.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | December 12, 2014 at 08:28 PM
If we go back to Rev 1:19 we get the outline of Revelation: “Write therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place”. Chapters 4-22 are the future and incomprehensible. A.W. Tozar, (1897 –1963 was an American Christian pastor, preacher and author) says we use the word “like” in order to try to understand future things. I particularly wonder about the 24 other thrones and who sits on them? (In verses in 4 and 10). I would think they are the rewarded believers but are unknown. In Mathew 19:28, we may be given a clue. “ Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Also if you read 1Timothy 3 we get a idea of character and ability of these that will be on the thrones. We are equally called to be representatives of God’s unchanging standards.
Posted by: Bob Bieberdorf | December 13, 2014 at 04:45 PM