The Day is Near

Morning Devotion November 25, 2009     Obadiah

 

Obadiah was a prophet in Israel around the time of Jeremiah and the Babylonian Captivity. His message is against Edom – a long time enemy of Israel from the time when they refused to allow Israel passage through their territory on the way to the Promised Land during the Exodus (see Number 20). This denial and the ongoing hostility against Israel was made even more reprehensible by the fact that the people of Edom (descendants of Esau) and the people of Israel (Jacob) were related.

This morning I want to focus on just one small part of this very short book – verses 15-17.

“The day of the Lord is near

for all nations.

As you have done, it will be done to you;

your deeds will return upon your own head.

 16 Just as you drank on my holy hill,

so all the nations will drink continually;

they will drink and drink

and be as if they had never been.

 17 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance;

it will be holy,

and the house of Jacob

will possess its inheritance.”

Just as this prophecy was directed at Edom, so it is directed at us also. In our own relationships with each other we are often hostile and uncaring. We delight at a rival’s failure. We forget that Jesus said not only “Love your neighbour”, He also said, “Love your enemy.” As Christ Followers we need to remember that we too are sinners (once fallen, now forgiven) and that our followership in Christ expects us to walk in His steps. He loved the sinners but hated the self-righteous (we often do it the other way round!)

The day of the Lord is near for ALL nations, and as you have done, so will it be done to you. We are being called to a new life (call it revival, if you like) where the deliverance on Mount Zion (see it as the Cross at Calvary) calls us to holiness and to take hold of our inheritance. We need to drink and drink the life giving water on God’s holy hill and be as if we had never been – made new, restored, forgiven and given a whole new life.

 


Faith and Hope

Morning Devotions November 24, 2009 1 Peter 1:13-25

“Therefore” the text begins … a preacher once said that whenever you see the word “therefore” you should ask what it is “there” “for”.

Peter calls us to prepare our minds for action (minds? For action?), to be self-controlled and to set our hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus is revealed. Wow, that’s a mouthful. Let’s dissect it …

First, what is it “there” “for”. Going back in the chapter we see references to new birth, living hope, an inheritance which can never perish, spoil or fade. We are also warned about trials which will come to temper our faith, and we are told about the prophets who spoke of the grace that was to come who, even though they did not actually see it, were able to rejoice that it was to come anyway.

Because of all that … therefore … we must prepare our minds for action. We must get our minds right and our thinking on track. We are not dealing with passing things nor forlorn hopes. This is Real! Get your thinking right and plan what you are going to do about your new birth, the living hope, the eternal inheritance. Be ready to face trials and psych yourself up to endure through them by faith. Hold fast to that which you do not see because it is real.

And then … be self-controlled. Control your selfish desires and the things that drive you in every direction but to the life of faith and hope. In Galatians, Paul writes about the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience etc … the last of these is self-control. A friend once said to me that all of these other things are the fruit but it is the self-control which is the root which allows it all to grow. Unless you have “self” under control you will not bear the fruit. Oh yes, you can stick plastic apples and peaches on the tree but they are not real. Real fruit only grows on the Tree of the Spirit when the root of self is under control.

And finally, set your hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus comes. Does this refer to the Second Advent, or the First (which we are now celebrating? Why not both? God is outside of time, He is not limited by time. The Kingdom has already come but it is not yet in its fullness. The grace is revealed in Incarnation and at the Cross and it will be fully revealed at the Parousia. Set you hope on what you have now and look forward to even more.

There is so much more in this reading but I will leave you now to ponder the rest of Peter’s words on your own. Dwell on them and see what he is saying to YOU!