Today’s Reading: Obadiah 1:1-21 (additional reading: Psalm 132:1-18 & Proverbs 29:24-25)
According to Jeff Kennet, the Premier of Victoria – Australia, Christians are “People of the Past”. That’s what he said. He said it when Christians raised objections to the Crown Casino. “To object to something like that,” he said, “meant you were out of step with the community.” How could you possibly object to something that would be such a revenue raiser for the state? That would bring so many tourists, particularly overseas tourists, to Victoria. Just because a few families will suffer untold misery, just because gambling is so addictive. So what! If you’re a Christian, he said, you’re living in the past. So get with it! Go down to the casino and enjoy yourself. I wonder how you feel when you hear people say things like that. That Christianity is a spent force. Do you get angry, or does it worry you?
Obadiah is an unusual prophet, in that there’s nothing in the book to tell us who he is or when he’s writing. Most of the other prophets make this clear but Obadiah just announces a vision that he’s received. Which makes it a bit tricky to work out what he’s talking about. As we look at it, I hope we’ll see that it’s talking about people who have made exactly the same mistake that many make today – of writing off the people of God.
Edom has written off God. And they’ve written off his people. What Edom has done, is they’ve taken advantage of the situation. They’ve watched Israel’s calamity, and they’ve rubbed salt into the wounds. The trouble is, they’ve written off God a bit too quickly. They decide Israel is finished for good. And for that, they’re going to pay the consequences. Because the exile of the Israelites isn’t God’s last word. God made big promises to Israel. He had big plans. And he’s not finished yet.
Just remember, if you’re facing that sort of thing yourself, the truth is exactly the opposite. We Christians are actually people of the future. With our future absolutely guaranteed. Obadiah got it right. He said to the Edomites, you can laugh. You can mock. But God’s Kingdom is going to stand for ever. It’s still going to be there when you’re long gone. And he was right. And he’s still right, See, we mightn’t look like much. But the humblest, most lowly Christian is still going to be there in eternity. Long after the powers of this world are gone.
Let’s remember that, next time we’re facing a hard time for our faith? Next time someone laughs, next time someone abuses us because we follow Jesus. Next time we’re tempted to just give up, because it’s tough. Next time we’re caught up in the things of this world that want to drag us away from God. There’s only one Kingdom that’s going to last. Everything else will go. Remember, we’re not people of the past; we’re people who look to the future, and who hold on to the promises of God.