Why We Need History (Obadiah 1-14)

July 30, 2023 | Brandon Cooper

Brandon Cooper discusses the book of Obadiah. He talks about Obadiah prophesying judgment on Edom for sins against Israel. He analyzes Obadiah’s message on how and why God will punish Edom. The sermon shows how Obadiah teaches believers to view history as God’s story and interpret current events redemptively.


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Good morning church.
So it feels like a privilege to be back here grateful to Merritt who filled in the last three weeks, especially it’s interesting, I had written an article for the gospel coalition that went up about a week and a half ago, the title was, oh, no, the youth guy is preaching. And I was not responsible for the timing, just want to be clear about that. But I mentioned the fact that we’re grateful, of course, to be able to raise up the next generation of leaders and preachers, but of course, sometimes that can come with a little bit of a dip in quality. And what a privilege it is that we have merit here because you can have him preach with no dip in quality. So thank you for that. Yes.
You notice I didn’t say anything about Kyle there. So next week. All right. With that, go ahead, grab your Bibles, and open up to Obadiah Obadiah. As you’re trying to figure out how to open up to Obadiah. That’s probably something to talk about. We’re starting this new series today in what is the shortest book in the Old Testament. And unless you made your way through a one out or something similar like that, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to find Obadiah without the help of your table of contents, or the page number that’s there in the bulletin if you’re using one of our pew Bibles. And unless you have very intentionally read through the Bible, or a URI Bible reading plan or something like that, there’s a good chance that you haven’t read the book before, either. And so it’s just a new one for us. Now, once you get there and read it, maybe some of you read it this week in preparation for the series, even you’ll find that it is a strange little book. It’s about Edom, not Israel. And so Edom is a nation that we know nothing about. And that doesn’t exist today. So not feeling terribly relevant just yet. And the book itself is a little dark, nationalistic, maybe vengeful. And so it feels like it has little relevance for our culture. Today. It’s out of place. So why, why would we bother studying it? The short, simple answer is Second Timothy 316. Is All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, All scripture, every word of it, even Obadiah comes from the very MOUTH of God and is for our good. But that might be too easy, too simplistic and answer, it’s got that feel of well, because the Bible says so which is true, but that gives us the what and not the Why does the Bible say it? Exactly. So what’s the why? When it comes to Obadiah? Why would we study it? JL Myers, in his book, The dawn of history opens with a chapter entitled The people who have no history. And it is a reminder, the fact that for most of humanity, most people, most cultures, even today, in many parts of the world, there is no sense of history. Things are just what they are events just kind of happen. They don’t have meaning or significance. There’s no purpose. There’s no end towards which history is moving, no development. No story, we might even say there’s certainly no arc of history that’s bending and whatever your desired direction we might be talking about. In fact, for many people, the hope for a different future is nothing more than a dangerous delusion because I got bad news for you, nothing’s gonna change anyway. So why would you set yourself up for that kind of disappointment? Russia invaded Ukraine? And well, of course they did. Because there’s kind of a big war in Europe in every generation. And I guess that’s the point we’re at now. This is how most of humanity has thought. Now I realized that’s not how most of us think, because it is so deeply ingrained in our culture, in our society, that history does have purpose that it is driving in a direction, but that’s only because of our culture’s deep Christian roots. As we become an increasingly post Christian society, where we might find that this untested assumption needs to be tested a little bit, why would we believe in something like progress? I mean, take, let’s say, a Darwinian explanation of history. If there is no God, I mean, the key word and Darwin, of course, is unguided. Well, that means there’s not going to be direction because there’s no good yeah, we tend to think of evolutionary development as leading towards progress, you know, single celled organisms to you know, somebody as complicated as we are. But that’s not what Darwin teaches, not by any means. He only progresses towards adaptation, we are not well adapted to survive a nuclear holocaust. Cockroaches, on the other hand, are gonna do just fine. So that’s not progress, necessarily. Where does this come from this idea that history has meaning and a purpose. And now we’re just naive. For believing this sort of pleasant story we tell ourselves because the alternative is too challenging to contemplate. Because if there is no history, if there is no sense of movement, what fatalism and despair and frankly, apathy would result. You can see we want to believe in history. It resonates with something inside of us, we want there to be history, we want to believe that there is an end a goal or purpose toward which we are being carried. And Obadiah is short, strange book that it is shows us how to read history, how to develop an historical framework, historical consciousness. And does that by looking at a specific granted monumental moment in Judah’s history, and what that means for their neighbors to the south east in modern day, Jordan, Edom. So Obadiah receives this vision for Edom, and we’re going to look this morning at what he prophesies, how the what is going to come about, and then the why of it all. So what, how and why let’s start with what Obadiah prophesies, which is punishment, declared verses one to four, let me read it for us now. The vision of Obadiah This is what the Sovereign LORD says about Edom. We’ve heard a message from the Lord, an envoy was sent to the nations to say, arise, let us go against her for battle. See, I will make you small among the nations you will be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the cliffs of the rocks, and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, who can bring me down to the ground, though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars from there, I will bring you down, declares the Lord. So note, first of all, that this is the vision of Obadiah. Now that word doesn’t necessarily mean that this was a literal vision that he was given in a in a trance like state or something like that. But inspired, we might use the word in English insight, it’s got that same vision kind of idea, right inspired insight into God’s purposes in history. And that’s what God grants Obadiah it’s a behind the scenes tour of what he’s doing, which is what we all want. Of course, many times you ask that as you’ve read the news, or even just experienced something in your own life, you just want to go Lord, what are you doing here? Like I trust that you’re doing something but could you let me know what well here Obadiah knows the what of what God is doing. And make no mistake, God is doing it. This is what the Sovereign Lord says. So we’re not talking about Israel’s God, some territorial deity we are talking about the one and only God he’s the one acting he’s the one speaking. Nobody says we heard a message these are not open Dias words. These are the Lord’s words. This is not open is a hot take on current events, but God’s timeless truths. It is interesting that he says we heard a message and it’s Obadiah as recognizing that he’s speaking as a represent indicative of God’s people, but he is speaking to Judah, about Edom. Now I know the whole book is gonna be addressed to Edom Hey, Edom, here’s what’s going on. But this book is not an itams Bible. It’s in the Hebrew Bible. This is for Judah to encourage them. Why? Why do they need this message about Edom? Well, they just suffered an enormous blow. Most likely we are talking about Nebuchadnezzar invasion of Judah and sacking of Jerusalem when the temple is destroyed and 587 BC. And so they are reeling in every possible way. They’re being carried off into exile, their nation has ceased to exist. They’re reeling spiritually as well. Did God fail? Has he not kept his word? What happened to that promise to have somebody on David’s throne forever, David’s throne just got destroyed? Is itams bail stronger than the Sovereign Lord? These are the questions they’re asking. And then Edom, as we’ll see in a little bit, they gloat. They loot, they participate in their neighbor’s doom. And so there’s the question lingering there as well. Are they going to get away with it? Is Edom going to get away with this evil? This is why Judah needs this message. That it is the question, Does history have a purpose? Is it moving towards God’s good? And, again, a question we’re often asking ourselves, Russia invades Ukraine, because what’s happening?
Is God doing something? Is he moving us still towards his desired end or natural disaster strikes? And a community is devastated? What is happy? Is there a story? Is there a purpose is there meaning? Is there significance? Or is this just chaos unfolding until the sun burns out in the universe goes Cool. Well, Eden will not get away with it. According to Obadiah, God will humble them. He actually uses the perfect tense there. What it says literally is, I have humbled them this is what’s known as the prophetic perfect because if God says it, it is as good as done we might as well speak of it as having been completed already. You will humble them they will be punished for their pride, pride, which is the root of all sin godlessness, the idea that I can do this without him. I don’t have to worry about him as I make my plans. Now. Make no mistake, Edom has some reason for this pride. They live it says here in the cliffs of the rocks. And the word for rocks there, Ceylon is actually the name of itams capital. So they’re like, I live in Salem and Salah is secure. Because it’s on a plateau and only accessible from one point of entry only from the southeast. It’s sheer cliffs on every other side of it. So it’s really difficult for an invading army to get in there. They felt impregnable. They’re perched way up high in their secure Castle who can bring me down, they boast. That’s the pride and from a human perspective, entirely justified. from a human perspective, it was an accurate reckoning. They reckoned without God. And that’s the issue. They felt invincible, but there’s only one who is truly invincible, and he didn’t factor into their equations. I know that’s mistake we would never make. We’ve never felt this pride, this sense of security in our own lives, how often we believe that my security or my prosperity is in my hands, which leads to when we’re feeling secure and prosperous pride and when we’re not despair. Because either I did it, or I did it. I messed up. I’ve got to fix this somehow. So what does that lead to them this belief that leads to a Prayerless and godless presumption, and ultimately fruitless but frenetic activity, running around trying to get everything the way we want it to be as if it’s in our hands, which God says over and over again in Scripture. Be still and know that I am God. We’ve talked about this before have that be still it really just means Gosh, stop. Okay. You got to remember who God is and it ain’t you. You cannot make yourself secure without God is part of what Obadiah is saying here, but it’s more than that. He’s also saying you cannot make yourself secure from God, from the God of justice, if you are going to participate in injustice, lots of people escaped justice in this life. You had enough money or power to buy off corrupt police and judges, you can die without ever having been held accountable for your misdeeds by humans, but not by God. This is part of their pride again, they see themselves I love the imagery here. It’s like a super Eagle. That’s kind of how they’re feeling here. So they make their nests not just a way up high where Eagles make their nests, but actually in the Star Wars, like who’s gonna reach you? There. There’s the sense of we’re soaring so high above you, but Obadiah is reminding them Yeah, but not higher than the God of the highest heavens. Like they’re up there. SpaceX can’t even reach them hiding their secret base in the Pleiades and the Orion. And there is job going Yeah, but you remember who made the Pleiades and the Orion? You are not hidden from him. So that’s what’s coming for Edom and for all who reckon without God, a final humbling from the Lord of history, because there is no chapter written without his knowledge, permission even sovereign for ordination he is in charge he will bring about his desired ends. He will punish him so next question, though, is how So how exactly is God going to punish him for their pride? Let’s look at punishment described verses five to nine. If thieves came to you, if robbers in the night Oh, what a disaster awaits you would they not steal only as much as they wanted? If great pickers came to you with they’re not leave a few grapes. But how Esau will be ransacked, his hidden treasures pillaged, all your allies will force you to the border, your friends will deceive and overpower you. Those who eat your bread will set a trap for you, but you will not detect it. And that day declares the Lord will not destroy the wise men of Edom, those of understanding in the mountains of Esau. Your warriors Tim on will be terrified, and everyone Esau has mountains will be cut down in the slaughter. So how will God punish Edom for its sins, it will be comprehensive judgment, as we see in this, frankly, harrowing description. If thieves would steal what they wanted, they’re gonna take the good stuff, at least they leave the junk, grape pickers are gonna ruin a harvest although even they’re gonna miss a few grapes here or there. Part of what Obadiah is saying is you’re unlikely to have both of them at the same time. And that’s what’s coming for Edom. Plus, they’re taking everything every last grape so comprehensive What I mean is what’s just been prophesied for Eden would be a little bit like losing your job on the same day that you discover that your entire retirement has been lost in a Ponzi scheme. Like you’ve lost your your income but your savings as well your present and your future security in an instant. Gone. That’s what will happen to Esau. Interesting we changed names not eaten now it’s Esau. Esau was the man from whom the nation of Edom descended, his nickname was Edom, which means red because he liked red soup suspect he was probably a ready guy as well. So II saw the red is kind of what they call him, the nation became Edom, but descendants from Esau, this is one of Isaac’s sons, Jacob and Esau, right? So that’s what will happen to Esau. These enemies are coming for them. But then by verse seven, it’s not enemies anymore. It’s actually allies for allies turning against them, all your allies, it says will force you to the border, which is kind of a oblique phrase, what exactly is Obadiah saying, Does that mean that the the envoys that Edom sent to their allies to say, Hey, can you come and help us were shipped back Nope, don’t even want to work? Close the embassy, you can’t come here anymore. Are they refusing refugees as they come streaming into these neighboring countries, they’re getting booted right back out, or perhaps are the former allies just joining with the attackers at this point to drive them out and conquer their land because they see the opportunity. And this is shocking. In any case, the word allies there, it’s those with whom you have covenants covenant, kind of an important word in the Old Testament in particular, we might say treaties, though, when it comes to international kind of stuff. So we’ve got broken treaties. And worse than that, though, in an ancient Near Eastern context, we have broken hospitality. And that’s not something you do that is sacrosanct. But it says those who eat your bread will set a trap for you. Man, this is as bad as it gets in some way. reminds me of Psalm 41 Verse nine when David is betrayed by a close friend, he says, even my close friends, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread has turned against me. Of course, this verse here as applied to Judas in the New Testament, so what are we dealing with? We’re dealing with, like a national Judas, Judas embodied in a series of nations all turning against Edom. Unless we forget, in verse eight, we’re reminded that it is God speaking. And it is God who is acting in that day, declares the Lord, will I not destroy the wise men of Edom? It might look like this is just human machinations being played out on the international stage, but there is divine purpose behind it all. It’s like Isaiah 10, when God refers to Assyria is just an instrument in his hand. That’s what’s happening here. He’s just instruments in his hands, the thieves, the Marauders, the unfaithful allies. And that is why he can guarantee it will happen. Why he keeps speaking with this prophetic, perfect, because he will ensure that itams strategies will fall and their strength will be sapped.
I don’t know if you remember how closely read your Old Testament when God purposed to frustrate wise Ahithophel advice. This is when Absalom is rebelling against David and Ahithophel, who had been David’s advisor stuck with Absalom and he gave good advice. Look, we need to go right now and pursue them and destroy them before they have a chance to re group of course God is on David’s side not because he was perfect, but because it was through him that the Messiah would come and so God frustrates that advice. He sends some other young punks to give Absalom some advice and Absalom as a young punk, so he likes the young punks. And so they do bad stuff. Instead, they mess it all up. And of course, Absalom is eventually defeated. That’s what God will do. Again, that’s what he’s talking about here. He’s saying what’s going to happen in Edom is that bad Council will be carried out badly by men who flee in terror. When the attackers come, it will be a comprehensive defeat. God, the Lord of history, will see his declaration become demonstration. But we probably still got one question lingering in our minds, which is why, why did Edom deserve this? This is all pretty harsh. So I’m going to need a defense of God’s actions here. Not that we get to judge God. But let’s play along for a moment. So that’s the last section why punishment defended verses 10 to 14. Because of the violence against your brother, Jacob, you will be covered with shame, you will be destroyed forever. On the day you stood aloof, while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them. You should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah on the day of the destruction or boast so much in the day of their trouble. You should not march through the gates of my people in the day of their disaster and or gloat over them in a calamity in the day of their disaster, nor seize their wealth and the day of their disaster. You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trip. So this is a book about punishment Obadiah we can’t get around that fact. And it can feel a little icky to us because frankly, we don’t like the judgment stuff in scripture that’s unique to our culture. But it’s very true in our culture, so feels icky. Here’s the way one commentator who was no particular fan of Scripture said it he says Obadiah it seems like a dark surge staining the stream of Revelation, as if to exhibit what a muddy channel these sacred waters had been poured upon the world. I could see that if we read this as mere nationalist of thirst for vengeance. But it’s not. It’s not it’s a legitimate cry for justice. Yes, God’s people got what they deserve. You can read that in all sorts of Prophets, Jeremiah comes to mind for example, all the way back in Deuteronomy, God has promised as he’s making his covenant with His people. If you break this covenant, if you’re faithless to it, here’s what will happen. I will bring in invaders they will destroy the city they’ll destroy the template be carried off at exile, guess what happens? There’s history that’s what happens. So they deserved what they got. But there are now eight chastened people. They’re stiff necks are now bent low in humility. So they see that but still they’re asking the question, yeah, but didn’t the nation’s sin to we’re not the only ones who have sinned. In fact, the nations are even worse because there’s no sense of surrender to God reminds me of First Peter four, verse 17, where Peter says, it is time for judgment to start with God’s household. And if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for the rest? Peter asks. So where’s that justice? Now the question is hanging in the air, is there a moral governance to the cosmos? The question we need answered even still today is their history. Will evil fail in the end will good triumph in the end? And who can ensure that it will happen? And that there is meaning even in hardship, and injustice, and evil is their history? Well, God through his prophet Obadiah outlines the case against Edom. This is why their punishment is just and righteous and good. And it is a picture of the end of the final judgment as well we know that the Judge of all the earth will do right he makes just judgments always. But verse 10, captures the case against Edom in a nutshell, in Hebrew, it’s just three words in rapid succession we use like pronouns and stuff, they use suffixes. So these words get smushed together. Because violence to your brother, Jacob. That’s it. That’s why because violence to your brother, that doesn’t make any sense. It’s this this horrific juxtaposition right here. It’s interesting that Obadiah calls the nation of Israel Jacob, Jacob name gets changed Israel. That’s where that name comes from. Again, this is Esau, his brother, but growing up was Jacob and Esau, Jacob and Esau, Esau and Jacob. And so Obadiah goes back to that to draw out that fraternal relationship to remind us that their siblings, what should Esau have done when he saw Jacob in trouble? I got brothers. I got three of them. I’m gonna tell you a story about two of them. And so you’ll never know which two I’m talking about. Alright, so protecting the innocent or something like that. So many years ago, we were all on a soccer team together indoor soccer team, you know, very recreational kind of thing. I was on the bench at the time. Two of my brothers were in the game. One of them was a keeping, he was the goalkeeper. And he went for the ball claimed it at the same time that the opposing attacker came for it. There’s a little bit of a clash. And usually when that happens, the attacker kind of tried to pull out you don’t want to hurt the goalkeeper, all that kind of stuff, even at the professional level, but definitely at the recreational level. Not this guy. He just kept kicking at the ball that my brother was holding like this kicked my brother in the face several times. My other brother was playing defense. He was like four yards away. He tackled the guy like clocked the guy. I’m not talking soccer tackle. I’m talking about what you all mistakenly refer to as football. But what is actually American football and involves the hands by the way. Like I think he sort of an unnecessary roughness, even in that sport, probably even in hockey. Why did he do it? Because that’s what brothers do. Because that’s what brothers it’s just what you it’s just instinctual. At that point, you’re hurt my brother. Like that’s where we’re going. Okay. That’s what he saw should have done. That’s what ESA should have done when he saw his brother in trouble instead, verse 11, it says he stood aloof. In fact, it’s so bad by the end of verse 11. He’s saying you became like them, you might as well have been an invader. How so? No, impart because they did nothing, at least to start with. Reminds me of the famous quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer who stood against the Nazi regime, because of his Christian faith and silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless not to speak is to speak not to act is to act. And they stood aloof, they didn’t speak and they didn’t act, they should have intervened. Even if they were powerless. I get it. Like maybe they’re looking at this going. Look, that just means our nation is gonna get wiped out to just a very utilitarian reasoning. Guess what happened to Bonhoeffer because he spoke and acted, Hitler hanged him, and it was still the right thing to do not eat him. Instead, they gloated. Again, this is sibling rivalry on the national stage. And in fact, even worse, they participated in it. And look at verse 13. They marched through the gates, they seized their wealth they’re venturing in after Babylon left to loot. They’ve come like vultures to pick the bones clean. I think it’s difficult to convey a how revolting this is. So I’m gonna use an illustration here and I just gotta give you like a trigger warning because I want Due to feel the horror of it so sensitive viewers be aware all that kind of stuff. This would be like a man who’s walking home at night on his block and discovers a woman who has been mugged, and beaten, lying, you know, almost unconscious on the ground eyes swollen shot because she’d been hit so many times. And this man instead of calling the police, instead of tending to her wounds, sees his opportunity to abuse and fondle her. And by the way, it’s his sister in law. That’s the horror of what Obadiah is describing here. I mean, look at them. They’re, they’re waiting at the crossroads, verse 14, to cut down their fugitives. So the refugees are pouring into this nation and instead of welcoming and assisting them, they’re they’re chopping them down, and then sending them away. When Ukraine invaded Russia, and Russia invaded Ukraine, a lot of Ukrainians you know, they poured into other countries like Poland in particular. Now, imagine if, when that happened, the Polish military was there to kill all the men steal all their possessions and then send the women and children to Russia and trains. That’s what Edom has just done.
They’re opportunists, at best, and moral relativists, it doesn’t matter what we do, we got to get ours while the getting is good. Which is a reminder, by the way, that a lack of historical consciousness, a lack of a sense of history, that there will be an end leads inevitably to a lack of moral consciousness. If there is no end, if there is no aim, then it doesn’t really matter what we do. So you might as well just get yours while you can. But that’s not how the world works. And so needless to say, God’s judgment on Edom is just, it’s put very neatly into so succinctly in verse 15, which we’ll look at next week. But it just says, as you have done, it will be done to you. There’s your justice, it is a proportional response. Edom is not getting away with anything. Neither, by the way is Babylon. We don’t even talk about Babylon, the fact that just invaded Judah and sacked the city and, and destroyed the temple. That’s the book of Habakkuk. We looked at three years ago, it’s all about Yeah, I understand that you needed to punish us. But what about Babylon? And God says, just hang on now, there is moral governance. There is a purpose. And so here’s what I mean when I say that Obadiah shows us how to develop historical consciousness or historical framework. Think about what just happened. Obadiah who by the way, we know nothing about. We don’t know his dad, we don’t know his occupation. In fact, the name Obadiah means servant of Yabe servant of the Lord. So it might not even be his name might just be a title. For him all. It was a common name at that time so Obadiah Mr. Nobody from nowhere servant of the Lord speaking to a defeated nation, speaking to people of God, who actually are no longer even a nation has the audacity to proclaim the Lord’s universal reign. That is a remarkable statement. Judas defeat surely looked like your vase defeat. Of course, he’s done. itams God must be stronger. Certainly battlelines God must be stronger. And yet, because Obadiah has a sense of history, he knows that no such thing is true. So as he then watched a coalition of Arabic tribes march on Edom, he saw God’s hand at work. He had historical insight, he had a vision of what God was doing. God reveals Himself in history. This book that we study week in and week out, it is not a collection of dogmatic statements. God did not give us a systematic theology textbook would have been easier in some ways. That’s not what he gave us. God gave us narrative. He gave us the story of redemption, the bulk of God’s word is narrative. Gerhard voce, who was really the theologian of redemptive history, this whole understanding says it like this, the process of revelation like how we know who God is, the process of revelation becomes incarnate in history. The facts of history themselves acquire a revealing significance. So we can see who God is in history. God does not know Want to enter abstraction, but in his mighty historical acts, climaxing of course in the life and death and resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. But this is why in the hands of the prophets, history always becomes instruction in the ways of God. They interpreted history for us, because they know how God always acts. We are not a people without a history. We can look at history and say, What could God be doing here? No, not perfectly. I don’t want to we’re not Old Testament prophets. We don’t have that authority. I get really bothered by people like the Jerry Falwell and pat robertson’s of the world, who are like, this is what just happened? No, you do not have that authority. But we have clues we have a sense of what God is always doing. Even if we don’t know the specifics in any given moment. The God who acts in history is the same God yesterday, today and forever. Yabe his name means I am who I am or even I will be who I will be. He’s always the same. And here’s the really good news for us. We sang it this morning, right? Well, you are worthy of your name, Jesus. What name was he worthy? What is Paul talking about? Philippians two, the passage where that song comes from, he is worthy of the name, Job A, the name above every name. Jesus is Yabe Yabe is Jesus Yabe is Yeshua. The God who will always be who he is, is the God who saves. It’s what Jesus means. Yeah, they saves, he is a saving God. Think about what good news that is. Because it means we don’t just have to be not on the wrong side of history. We don’t have to be on the wrong side of the God of history. That’s great news. Because we’re talking about God punishing injustice and evil, and I got news for you. That’s all of you and me also, the supreme revelation of God, though in history, thank God is not him up punishing Edom for some war crimes, because that would be bad news for us. So we wiped out Pharaoh we got the flood like then God will just be a god of a judgment. And since we’re deserving of judgment, we will be in such trouble. The Supreme revelation of God in history is his punishing our sin in Christ on the cross, and then Christ rising three days later in triumph over sin and death, so that we can be saved. The Cross and the MP two are the key that allow us to interpret history that gives us that interpretive framework Obadiah teaches us to read history and to read our own stories, redemptive historically, seeing the process of redemption unfold. So as you read the news, or as you’re looking at your own life, even you can kind of think through what’s happening here. What do we know from the history of redemption? If you studied history, you know that there are our four kind of main stages creation, fall, redemption, consummation, that helps us understand what’s going on. What do we learn from creation? Well, first of all, we learned that God created us, so we belong to Him, we are accountable to him. We also learn though, that humans being made in the image of God had essential worth and dignity. We have meaning and purpose in our lives. That all seems like important stuff for history, doesn’t it? Then you come to the fall, that’s where he messed everything up. We’re crying out for justice in a broken world, because we broke the world because we are unjust. We want God to fix things. Although we are aware of the fact if we’re honest with ourselves, that we want more than justice, because otherwise we’re in big trouble. That’s redemption. We want more than justice will good news, God is more than just just be as gracious and merciful and loving, and kind as well. And so he is redeeming and restoring a people for His name, and establishing his perfect forever kingdom, which takes us to conservation, which we’ll talk about a lot. Next week, the Lord of history will bring history to its purpose. And that’s what we need to understand history right there. There’s the main idea, by the way, we kind of pull all this together, we must learn to read history as his story. I grant that’s like a little too cute to cover or something like that. But you know what? Sometimes the cute is just right. And that’s it. That’s exactly what I want us to understand. I think it’s what Obadiah has for us. It’s not just happening. It’s not just events unfolding. It is a story that is being written and we know the author, and we’ve read the last page and that’s great news is a story of God’s good and gracious activity in history. What is God doing? As we look around? Is he checked hastening us, is he humbling those who feel safe in the cliffs of the rocks? Is he exposing our need? Or the emptiness of the false gods were following? is he bringing about a long awaited justice? Even if we’re not sure what the crime was? Or is he refraining because in his kindness, he’s still giving people time to repent was learn to read history, although I think we can also move beyond simply reading history through redemptive goggles. We must learn to participate in history redemptively there is a purposed end, and we know it, we know what that is, we’ll get we’ll talk about it next week. The arc of history absolutely bends towards God’s justice and righteousness and glory. Which means yes, we
absolutely can be on the right or wrong side of history, but not according to what a politician or our culture or an op ed says, but according to God, the God of history what he says. But this must be part of our missional mindset, one of our core values here at Cityview. The missional mindset means we’re about more than just proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, but laboring to see God’s kingdom established exactly as we pray, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Here’s the way the prophet Micah puts it. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. It might mean reconciling with a warring tribe, ethnic or political, might mean welcoming the refugee lifting the poor out of their poverty, and certainly proclaiming freedom for the captives, especially those still captive to sin, you have a part to play in the history that is being written, you have a role in his story, to preach and live the kingdom of God. Let’s pray. Lord, we come to you now as the Lord of history, the Sovereign Lord, not just of Israel, or of the church, but of all nations. We worship You, as the one who will bring history to its purposed end. We worship you, because we know that that end is good, because you are a God of goodness, righteousness, justice. You alone have not just the right, but the character to make the judgments that need to be made in history, and we cannot, we are fallen, we are perverted in our sense of justice. We know that we see how often injustice is done, even by those speaking in the name of justice. And so Lord, we are grateful that you are in control and that we are not. We are grateful for the hope that it gives us to know that you are working in history and we are grateful, Lord, because we know that you are redeeming and restoring a broken, painful and often wicked world, that you are redeeming and restoring our broken and painful and often wicked lives and hearts. work in us, Lord, to see with your eyes with redemptive lenses and then to live redemptively for the glory of your name. And for your coming kingdom. We pray, Amen.

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