It Will Be Mighty Sore Where The Eagle Soars!

April 3, 2013

Obadiah 1:1-1:21

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, but it covers a lot of ground in only twenty-one verses. Obadiah’s name means a slave or bondservant of Jah, a short form of Jehovah. Paul called himself a bondservant and we are to be the same. In that, we have a kinship to this writer.
Some folks do not like to study the Old Testament. They see no use for it since we are now in times of the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Besides, we are Gentiles and do not need to know all that ancient Hebrew history. This is not a new thing. There was a move among the early church to burn the Old Testament and forget it completely. Fortunately, God raised up a lad named Irenaeus (AD 120-202) to preserve the Old Testament for us.
I felt somewhat like a modern day Irenaeus in my Homiletics class. And y’all thunk I culdn’t spel! When they started talkin’ homily, I thought they said hominy and I got hungry! Anyway, when we were given assignments to prepare a sermon and I came up with an Old Testament passage and applied it to our day my classmates were astounded and amazed. They could not do it. I reckon their minds were made up that the OT wuz jist law and we wuz to fergit it. Well, I’m jist an old country preacher enuff to believe that God wrote it from kiver to kiver and there is sumthin’ everywhere that I need to know. After all, I thought that was the reason we were alearnin’ Hermeneutics. Ouch, that one made my head hurt. Anyway, my compatriots had forgotten to read I Cor. 10:11 and II Tim 3:16. If they had made that connection, they would not have been so dumbfounded at my sermons. Those passages tell me I am not supposed to throw out any Scripture. I am supposed to do an II Timothy 2:15 and know whether I’m to learn from the example or teach the doctrine. Seems fairly clear and easy to me, but then like I said I’m jist a simple man. So, let’s make Obadiah simple.
The Edomites were kin to Israel because they came from Esau. Now, we know that Jacob and Esau had a bit of a family feud, but they worked it out. Their descendents did not do as well. There was a constant rivalry and jist plain bad blood between them.
The Edomites were feeling right secure in their mountain fortress called Sela’ or modern day Petra on Mt. Seir. (Vs. 3) You may have heard of Petra in a prophecy sermon. This is where folks think the remnant of Jews will flee to during the Tribulation. In fact, one group has placed sealed New Testaments in the caves of that city so that when they get there they can read them and be saved. Now that is putting shoe leather to your beliefs.
With what seemed like an impregnable refuge, they got to be a might proud and haughty. Who could touch them? (Vs. 3) To attack was certain death and defeat. They most likely even got to believing that God was on their side.  Traditionally, when kin were attacked the rest of the family jumped in on the fight, but the Edomites disliked the sons of Jacob so much that they did not come to help them when other folks fought with Israel. Not only did they not help they jumped in and got a bit of the booty for themselves. (Vs. 12,13) Kings and Chronicles show us at least three times when they were against Israel when they should have been by their side. The lowest blow of all was that they caught those that were escaping and turned them over to the enemy. (Vs. 14) I’ve got kin like that myself so I understand what Israel must have felt like at these times.
They must have gotten even cockier with each time they looted Israel, but they forgot who was keeping accounts. They found out whose side God was on and that He does avenge His people. It would get mighty sore where the eagle soars because God was not going to pull any punches. (Vs. 4)

They got a lesson in greed. Because they could never get enough and left nothing whenever they spoiled their kinfolk, God cut them completely off. (Vs. 5,10)
They got a lesson in disloyalty. Because they had been disloyal to their family, the groups they had fed and had made treaties with were the ones that were used to bring about their demise. (Vs. 6,7) God has been known to allow the wicked to be punished by the very thing they enjoyed doing to others. (Job 18:8, Psalm 69:22, Prov 1:31)
They got a lesson in trust and dependence. They trusted in their military, their wise men, and their geography and not their spiritual heritage. (Vs. 3,8,9) God made sure that all three failed them. They should have sought the God of their fathers and asked Him wisdom. Then they would have reconciled with their kinsfolk and prospered instead of perished. Their trust and dependence would have been in God and they would today have a place in Israel.
They received lessons in what treachery and lack of mercy brings to the perpetrators. (Vs.11-15) Every thing that they did to Jacob came back upon their heads. We say what goes around comes around. The Scripture says you reap what you sow. (Gal 6:7,8) They also learned that God is in control and He does avenge His people. His timing may not be fast enough for the wicked and so they think He is dead, getting senile or that they are just too slick. Then God moves and He does it swiftly and they are consumed in an instant. There are numerous examples of this throughout the Old Testament. In the New Testament, we have the wicked laughing at the concept of Christ returning since He has not done so in what seems a long time to them. Therefore, they think we are idiots and they are in control and have nothing to fear. In the end, judgment will come to them swiftly as it did to those who perished in the flood. The last laugh is always best. (II Peter 3, Psalm 2)
The mountain folk learned it was not good to party and plunder on God’s mountain. He is going to let the heathen party and plunder on Edom’s mountain. When the party is over, it will be as if the mighty mountain men had never existed. Great would be their desolation! (Vs. 16)
In the end, God’s people get deliverance. You see God’s people needed some lessons here as well. I am sure that they cried out to God every time these Edomites and others had plundered them. I am sure they wondered where was the God of Israel. Their enemies asked them that as they conquered them and at those desperate times, they had to have had their own doubts.
They learned patience. God avenged them, but in His own time. They learned dependence and trust in Him. In none of those times did their wisdom or military might deliver them. When they finally did achieve a military victory against the Edomites in verses 17-19 they knew it was from God. All of this seems to have taught them obedience and repentance since holiness was a part of the deliverance and possession of Edom. They learned again the lessons of Job. They had lost things in the past, but when God did His work among them, they received much more than what they had lost to the Edomites. (Vs. 19,20) Finally, in verse 21, the saviours or the saved ones shall be judges or rulers in the land of the Edomites and the kingdom will be the Lords. It is not really the Israelites’ kingdom. It is God’s kingdom. He gave it to them and He could take it away. They were merely stewards and recipients of the gift.
Ok, you say, the history lesson was fine. What has all that to do with us? Christians definitely need to learn the lessons that the Israelites learned. We are often as forgetful and doubtful as they were. Christians and this nation need to learn from the errors of the Edomites as well. We are a greedy people. Americans consume most of the assets of this planet. We have so much more than anyone else does and yet we demand more. Sadly, Christians are not immune from this sickness. We need to reassess and determine to make our needs equal to Scriptural principles and our priorities those that affect eternity.
As a nation, we have a history of disloyalty. We have made many treaties and broken many promises to our own people as well as our allies. Christians have broken many promises to God, each other, and the lost that looked to us in trust because of our profession of faith.  As a nation, we trust in the eagle. We thought ourselves invincible because of geography until technology brought war to our shores in 1941. Now death and destruction can come from anywhere by many more means than ever imaginable in the history of mankind. We trusted in our intellect. Now our education system struggles to even give us functionally literate high school graduates. We trusted in our military might and now even our best technology had some failures in a battle against the fourth largest military force in the world. What is worse is that force was made up of tired tanks and troops that were even more tired and we still achieved no real victory. We have had no real victories since WWII and still we trust in our weapons.

American Christians trust in the same things. They think this is a Christian nation. It is so only in name. In practice, we are as pagan as ancient Rome or Greece. We are polytheistic. We worship apes, men, sex, money and the list is truly unending. We believe the answer to our problem lies in political power. We think the causes of those problems are the heathen Liberals and sinners of all stripes. A third, fourth or fifth party is not the answer. The answer is repentance and revival. The cause is our loss of focus and our dependence and trust in other things than God. Until those things change our nation and churches cannot be healed nor delivered. (II Chron 7:14) All those things failed the Edomites that trusted in their eagle’s nest. May our eagle not have to learn the same lesson or suffer the same fate. God can make it mighty sore where our eagle soars as He did in Edom.
As a nation, we have had treacherous politicians and business magnates that have shown no mercy. They have lived for their own profit and programs and woe be it unto any that stood in their way. We may never know the truth about many things that have happened even in our lifetime and we know history has often been revised to protect the guilty. Many loyal workers have been disposed of like leftovers when it suited the company. Politicians have casually broken many promises. We live in an age where none of them are trusted. Unborn children have been killed and cut away like warts or parasites because their own mothers and lawyer-politicians have no mercy. God has always despised child sacrifice.

Christians sometimes separate their faith from their business. My own alma mater preached living by faith in the chapel and cash on the barrel-head in the business office. I was told that they tried to run their business like the world. Funny thing about that is that I have seen much more mercy in the business world than I saw practiced there. I hope that things have changed for the better over the past seventeen years.
When the brethren err or sin we devour them. They were only wounded, but we performed what is ironically called the coup de grace. We who have received mercy show no mercy to our own or the lost. We try to manipulate the politics of our church and will feed a good preacher, teacher, or member to the wolves if they get in the way of our plans. Pastors build their kingdoms and not His kingdom, abusing and scattering the sheep they were meant to feed and protect.
We need to relearn the sovereignty of God and not party and plunder in His Church. We are supposed to be a nation built in the foundations of His Word and yet we have kicked Him out of our schools and courts. Is it any wonder that we have crimes in the schools and no justice in the courts? We are a nation built on the right to religious freedom and yet we cannot pray where we want or speak our faith when and where we please. Courts and schools abridge and deny our “inalienable rights.”
Have friends over for Bible study on a routine basis and if the city finds out you will be ruled as a church and be fined for breaking zoning laws. However, a neighbor can have friends over for all kinds of reasons and no one would raise an eyebrow. Cars could be all over the neighborhood on Super Bowl Sunday or every Monday before that. They may line the streets as a group of men have a weekly smoker with porno movies and strippers. No law would be broken nor any questions asked. Ah, but weekly Bible Studies constitute a church and we must be very careful where those are located and how often they meet. In God, we trust. He is just not allowed to travel freely in our country anymore. Separation of church and state meant that the state had no control over the church not that the church is banned from any influence on the state.
Christians see God as a big Buddy and not the Lord. Men dare to make merchandise of Him and fleece people in His name. We treat Him like a big fire escape and a Divine gift dispenser. We have no fear or awe of Him. We have Him all figured out and molded into our image. We have His pager number and He is on 24/7 call just for us. We have no true understanding of sin and we just play church. Our fellowships are just parties with a devotional or a prayer tacked on to make it Christian. We are in control of His church and not Him. Our service, if any, is sporadic and emotionally dictated. When it is not fun anymore or we are no longer fulfilled we quit. If we are not fed we whine and try a new playground.
The Lord leads us into green pastures. He expects us to feed ourselves and as long as we play and whine the grass cannot be greener on any side of the fence. No man or organization can replace the King and Shepherd of our souls. He never left the throne. We just set up a new one and put ourselves on it. The party that never should have been must end and we must return to His throne, find grace, and help in our present need.
Just twenty-one verses from a servant of God long dead to a people long gone and yet full of teaching to us. The recipients of Obadiah’s message learned nothing from it and perished. America, Christian, will we learn anything from it? If we ignore it, our eagle may cease to soar and Christians may up end mighty sore. If we repent of the sins of the Edomites and learn the lessons of the Israelites we will know national and spiritual prosperity that will make everything good we have had up to now look like a one of those puny appetizers before the grand seven course meal. May God help us to do so!


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