Lamentations 5:1-22; Obadiah 1:1-21; 2 Kings 25:22-26; Jeremiah 40:7-41:18
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Old Testament - Lamentations Chapters 4 in yesterday's readings and chapter 5 in today's are tough chapters to read. We know why everything that we read in these chapters has come to pass from our readings in the book of Jeremiah. I guess the thing personally that jumped out at me today when reading this chapter were these thoughts: Have I personally ever experienced anything like what we read about in this chapter? The answer is no. The second thought or question that came to me, however, was this: Are there people in our world today that are experiencing similar things that we read about in this chapter? And I believe the answer is obviously yes. Not for the same "reasons" that Jerusalem was experiencing all of this of course - but the same experiences of starvation and lack of hope are indeed happening in our world today.
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 several years ago. 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, 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 disease? If so, should we be doing something about it? Should we be like the Good Samaritan, caring for our neighbor? Who is your neighbor?
Jeremiah chapter 40 continues with Gedaliah being appointed governor of Judah by Babylon. Gedaliah seems to be a good sort, as he invites the people living in the country side to: "Settle in any town you wish, and live off the land. Harvest the grapes and summer fruits and olives, and store them away." (v. 10). However, things don't go well too long for Gedaliah, which is sad... Ishmael enters the scene in chapter 40 and into chapter 41, and ultimately murders Gedaliah. This definitely made me sad! Things seemed to be getting a bit peaceful in Judah, and prosperous to a degree. And then evil enters the scene once again... How many times have we seen this scenario play out over history? Below is an image of Ishmael's treachery to the remnant of Judah in 41:6 -
Worship Video: Our Obadiah readings today reminded me of the Delirious song "Majesty." I had the good fortune to worship to this song with Delirious several years ago just before it was released. They were playing some of their "new stuff" and this was a great song to worship to live! You'll notice the crowd in this video is definitely worshiping.
Do you know our Majestic Lord? Click here for your Majesty!
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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