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God Will Work It Out [6-30-24]




June 30, 2024

Obadiah

“God Will Work it Out”


To gain as clear an understanding as possible of Obadiah, we need a reasonable grasp of the events swirling around this prophecy. Today’s quest is going to take us in several different directions. It’s going to be like a summer road trip.


Our first stop is Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a descendent of David. About 300 years separated the two. Hezekiah was, at heart, a good king. He had a close relationship with God. He always tried to do what was good and right and faithful before the Lord {2 Chronicles 31:20}. In fact, Hezekiah is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus:

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

  • Matthew 1:6-11


You notice Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz. As good a king as Hezekiah was, his father was the opposite. He was one of the worst kings of Judah. How bad was he? Ahaz copied pagan worshiping practices of surrounding kingdoms. He embraced their idols and symbols. He shut down the temple in Jerusalem. And each city in the kingdom of Judah had places for worshiping false idols. But that wasn’t the worst. The most awful, horrible, detestable thing Ahaz did was sacrifice some of his children to the pagan god, Molech. Things did not end well for Ahaz.


Only by the grace and mercy of God did Hezekiah turn out like he did. And remember, one of our guiding principles as we study God’s Word is regardless what people do or don’t do, God’s sovereign purpose will be carried forward. Ahaz was a psychopathic jerk whose reign would not last. God would see to that. As we know, with the Babylonian captivity, God used another nation to punish His wicked and rebellious people. Nothing could thwart God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Not even a wicked ghoul like Ahaz.


It’s a testimony to God’s grace and mercy that Hezekiah was 180° pivoted away from his father. As a side-note, God worked so wondrously in Hezekiah’s life that he was great-great grandfather to another minor prophet, Zephaniah. Zephaniah’s point was one of judgment and encouragement.


Anyway, back to Hezekiah. He was passionate about the worship of God, as well as faithfulness to the teachings of God. 2 Kings covers his reign. The prophets Isaiah and Micah were active during his reign.


One of the most striking events from his reign came when Judah was under siege by the Assyrians. They were surrounded by over 150,000 

invaders. It was so bad, a commander of the Assyrians taunted the people 

of Judah. 2 Kings 18:26-35 records him saying:

Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?”

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”


That is one heck of a taunt. Hezekiah was not afraid. What was the first thing he did? Right…he prayed. He prayed a beautiful prayer: “Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God” {2 Kings 19:19}. Isaiah 37:6-7 adds:

Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do 

not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”


And so it happened. All warriors in the Assyrian camp were destroyed by an angel of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 32:22 reports, “So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side.”


Hezekiah trusted God. He prayed. When faced with a seemingly impossible situation, he did the right thing. He remained steadfast in his trust in God. No panic…no worry…no fear. As J.R. Millier, Christian author and educator from the late 19th century, put it:

“How useless worrying is! It removes no trouble, lightens no burden, and softens no hardness in one’s lot. On the other hand, it only makes the trial greater and the heart in its feverishness, less 

strong for endurance.”

That is absolutely what made Hezekiah such a successful leader. He knew that no matter what he experienced or went through in life, all would be well because God had promised. He was faithful to God. And God was faithful to His promise. Amen? Never forget – no matter what you experience or go through in life, all is well, because Jesus Christ is Lord. He has chosen you to believe in him and to trust him. Your name has been written down on his Book of Life. Be like Hezekiah.


So, what’s the point with going back about 150 years from Obadiah to Hezekiah? It’s primarily to show the rich history of God both correcting and protecting His people. We see it throughout the Prophets. There’s a trajectory throughout sacred history, building to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is what matters most. Nothing can stand in the way of that process. God’s people, Israel, will be disobedient. The Prophets tell of how God corrects them. He reminds them of the ultimate importance of faithfulness to His sovereign will. Prophets also speak of God’s boundless grace and mercy toward His people. He guides them…He teaches them…He blesses them…and He punishes their enemies. Anyone 

who thwarts God’s plan, receives God’s wrath. In one way or another, 

punishment is meted out.


Which leads us to the first ten verses of Obadiah:

Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:We have heard a report from the Lord,    and a messenger has been sent among the nations:“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”Behold, I will make you small among the nations;    you shall be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you,    you who live in the clefts of the rock,     in your lofty dwelling,who say in your heart,    “Who will bring me down to the ground?”Though you soar aloft like the eagle,    though your nest is set among the stars,    from there I will bring you down,declares the Lord.

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?How Esau has been pillaged,    his treasures sought out!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.

Will I not on that day, declares the Lord,    destroy the wise men out of Edom,    and understanding out of Mount Esau?And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,    so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.

Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall 

cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.


Here's something you might want to write down:

THIS IS A HORRIFIC OUTBURST OF DIVINE FURY.

Verse one starts out slow. A report comes in and a message goes out. But boy, is that message loud and clear…”Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!” Things are not going to go well for the enemies of Judah.


The flow is swift and sure. We get pictures of the scene:

  • A secure settlement high up on the rocks.

  • Vultures nesting up high.

  • Thieves breaking into a house at night.

  • Harvesters gathering grapes.

  • Ransacked storerooms.

  • Friends driving people from their own territory.

  • People who once ate together trapping and being trapped.

  • Expressions of panic and shame.


We’ll break down what all that means next week. Until then, never forget. 

Things never go well, whether it’s in this life or the next, for the enemies of God. But for us, in Christ, we are no longer enemies of God. As both Hezekiah and Obadiah were, we are fully confident in God’s desire to care for His people. Therefore, to paraphrase Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

IN CHRIST, WE SHOULD BE FULL OF JOY AND OF PEACE AND OF HAPPINESS.

And together, the people of God said, AMEN.

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