Sept. 23, 2009
Read Amos 6
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Five visions: (1) Locusts — an invading army (7:1-3); (2) Fire — consumed by (7:4-6); (3) A plumb line — measuring correctness, Israel defective (7:7-9); (4) Ripe fruit — the end is coming (8:1-14); (5) God at the altar — Israel to be destroyed (9:1-10). God's promise to David kept (9:11-15). God speaks to Edom (Obad. 1:4,15-18, 20-21).
The Edomites were descendants of Esau and had been hostile to the Israelites throughout the centuries. Jacob had risked his life to retain his God-given right of ownership of the birthright which had been foreordained by the Lord (Gen. 25:23). Esau, on the other hand, had shown contempt for the birthright by exchanging it for a simple meal of pottage (25:33-34). Knowing the hearts of these two men, God said of them: Jacob have I loved (chosen), but Esau have I hated (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:2-3). As the world motivated by Satan hates Christians, the Edomites, throughout their history, hated the Israelites.
The proud Edomites felt secure in their inaccessible mountain fortress of Seir, and their attitude of self-sufficiency caused them to ignore the warning of the prophet Obadiah. Social prestige, wealth, and power bring the same sense of false security to many today. Some are deceived by self-confidence in their own strength and possessions, and they fail to realize that pride goeth before destruction (Prov. 16:18).
About four years after the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar's military forces swept through Ammon, Moab, and Edom. The surviving Edomites then moved into the southern part of Judah which they had seized shortly after the Jews went into captivity. Several hundred years after that, this terrority was known as Idumaea. The Edomites never succeeded in reconquering the land of Seir and, after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, their name disappeared from history, just as Obadiah had foretold: For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever (Obad. 1:10).
This is a warning to anyone who takes advantage of or rejoices over someone else's misfortunes. The message of Obadiah also gives a sense of assurance, encouragement, and hope to the people of God. Even when faced with overwhelming odds, the justice of God and the assurance of His faithfulness gives us courage that the principles of right and wrong never fail: Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6:7).
In contrast to the Edomites' attitude is the trustworthy message of our Lord Jesus Christ, assuring His disciples: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (Matt. 5:7).
Thought for Today:
And they that know Thy Name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee (Ps. 9:10).
As the Plumbline (Amos 7:7-8). A plumb line is an instrument used in measuring an absolutely straight vertical line. Christ alone is qualified to walk in the midst of His people, measuring and exposing good and bad, true and false (Rev. 2 & 3).
Amos 6:8 excellency of Jacob = pride, arrogance (Jacob means the whole of Israel, including the palaces of Jerusalem and Samaria); 6:11 with breaches = into ruins; with clefts = fragments; 6:13 horns by our own strength = pride over their accomplishments, military power (Deuteronomy 33:17; I Kings 22:11).
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Debbi Belisle • Staff: Pam Pendergrast • Country: Czech Republic (10 million) in central Europe • Major languages: Czech and Slovak • Religious freedom • 63% Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Revere and worship the Lord with godly fear and you will have no want (Ps. 34:9).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 12:50