Friday, July 24, 2015

Jacob I love but Esau I hate

 LESSONS & APPLICATIONS FROM THE BOOK OF OBADIAH:
1.      The enmity of the seed of the serpent toward the Seed of the woman shall never cease so long as time stands
Before Esau and Jacob were born, the Lord God declared that the elder must serve the younger – when they had done neither good nor evil so that the purpose of God of election may stand. And so it shall be forever. As Moses declared that Ham must serve Shem and Japheth, God’s Word regarding Jacob and Esau is but a declaration of God’s purpose to assure the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners that the reprobate of this world can do us no harm. They only serve the interests of our souls as vessels of showcasing His holy justice. The stiff-necked Pharaoh could go this far in his obstinacy – the Lord exposed his pride and in drowning his army. Jannes and Jambres gave Moses a fit, withstanding him to the face at every turn; but they could proceed no further (Ex. 7:11; 2 Tim. 3:8-9). And those who oppose God’s people in this world, those who abuse, mistreat, and persecute God’s people in this world cannot hurt them. They only accomplish God’s will in service to us.  This must serve to make us learn the glorious purposes of God so that we overwhelm with joy as we look forward to the time when all the things present shall be rolled away like a scroll and we shall be given that we which is eternally good, the inheritance undefiled, imperishable and unfading that God has reserved in heaven for His people.  Meanwhile He is guarding us through faith!
The enmity of Edom toward Israel, the enmity of Esau against his brother Jacob began long before Obadiah came on the scene. It began while the two boys were still in their mother’s womb. It is an enmity manifest throughout history. It is the enmity Cain had for Abel, the enmity of Babylon against Israel, the enmity of Herod against the incarnate Son of God, the enmity of the Judaizers against Paul, the enmity of the religious world against the Kingdom of God. It is a never ceasing, unabated, ever-increasing enmity. It is the enmity of the dragon of hell against the Woman of God’s choice (Rev. 12). The dragon ever tries to slay the Seed of the Woman but must not and shall not prevail as we have seen in 1.
What is that enmity? It is the vile, base, deep-seated hatred of all who proudly presume that they can be saved by their own works, saved without God, against all who are saved by free grace alone, trusting Christ alone, looking to him alone for redemption, righteousness and everlasting salvation. If any thinks this enmity is imaginary, let him read a page or two of history, or of this morning’s paper! This enmity has produced martyrs from saints. It is this enmity that informed the decision of the American Supreme Court on Friday on same-sex relationships (I dare not call them marriage!) The purpose of God cannot be hindered, thwarted, or frustrated  (v.2)



2.      Self-deceiving pride of the hearts is what destroys all who perish under the wrath of God (3-9)
Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? We must not be deceived by the deceitfulness of heart as to fail to remember how great was the Fall of our first parents. The depravity of human beings is total, not partial. It renders every Tom, Dick and Mary incapable of any spiritual good. The Fall consists of the sinfulness leading to the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the lack of original righteousness, the corruption of the whole nature together with all actual transgressions which proceed from this state. It produces sinners, for the misery upon which the Fall brought man-made him to lose communion with God, incurring the full wrath and curse of God, and so made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself and in the time to come pains of hell forever.
 Consider this self-deceiving pride in these words;
The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, "Who will bring me down to the ground?" Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD.
Edom represents all those vain men and women who, like Esau, despising Christ presume that they can go it alone, that they can ascend to heaven by their own will, their own works, and their own goodness. They hide themselves in what they think is an impregnable rock of morality, on a high hill of experience, and say, “All is well. I am secure. Who shall bring me down?”  Yet they forget their utter helpless in doing themselves any eternal good. For this reason of pride, many are the times when God gives them up to wallow in their depravity and wickedness to their own punishment. They imagine that they are in the clefts of rocks when they are exposed to the destruction of the devil; they think that they are in the lofty dwelling when they are the bottomless dark pit, they are deceive themselves! Their folly tells them that they have their mansions upon the stars – no! They will soon know the power of the Almighty who they have disdained in their wicked pride. For God has vowed and will not change His mind, He shall bring them down!

You would expect thieves and grape gatherers to leave something of the harvest behind, yet Edom will be thoroughly plundered with nothing left behind… If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave gleanings? Consider how it is completely ransacked – destroyed, pillaged, sought out. These past tense verbs about a future event displays the fact that in the mind of God, this is as good as done. You notice that some of this destruction work is accomplished by her ‘allies’ and ‘those at peace with you’ and ‘those who eat your bread’ and all this happened, without ‘understanding’. God uses both allies and enemies to execute His judgment. Edom shall be spoiled, and brought down. God can easily lay those low who magnify and exalt themselves; and will do it. Carnal security ripens men for ruin, and makes the ruin worse when it comes. Treasures on earth cannot be so safely laid up but that thieves may break through and steal; it is therefore our wisdom to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Those that make flesh their trust, arm it against themselves.
All the enemies of God's church shall be disappointed in the things they stay themselves on. The God of our covenant will never deceive us: but if we trust men with whom we join ourselves, it may prove to us a wound and dishonour. God will justly deny those understanding to keep out of danger, who will not use their understandings to keep out of sin. You must not forget or underestimate the power of evil.
For this reason, all who suffer the wrath and judgment of God perish under the just judgment of the Almighty because of their own sins (vv. 10-17). May I state this with equal force ― No one goes to hell because of God’s purpose. Vessels of mercy are prepared by grace for glory. Vessels of wrath fit themselves for destruction. This is what they did and has eternal consequences:Because of the violence…shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever.” All violence, all unrighteousness, is sin; but it makes the violence far worse, if it be done against any of God's people. Their barbarous conduct towards Judah and Jerusalem, is charged upon them. Men and women go to hell because of their own, obstinate, wilful rebellion and unbelief.
This is what they did not do, it also has implications: “You stood aloof… you were like one of them. So many times sins of omissions are as good as commission – for to know the good that you ought to do and not to do it is sin.
In reflecting on ourselves, it is good to consider what we should have done to help the people of God. You have a great deal to answer for, if you are idle spectator of the troubles of your neighbours, when able to be active helper. Though judgment begins at the house of God, it shall not end there. Let sorrowful believers and insolent oppressors know, that the troubles of the righteous will soon end, but those of the wicked will be eternal. Edom, the whole nation, followed the example of their father Esau. The whole nation followed their father straight to hell! None are ever saved by the examples of others; but multitudes perish forever by the examples of others! 
Esau is in hell today because he despised Christ, because he preferred the world to the Son of God, because he preferred a bowl of beans to gratify his flesh for a moment to God’s eternal inheritance of grace. Edom perished for exactly the same reason. That nation perished because of her hatred of God and his people, as displayed in their conduct. 
3.         The everlasting salvation of God’s elect is a matter of absolute certainty
(Oba 1:17-21)  "But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. {18} And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. {19} And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. {20} And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. {21} And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S." 
Here, Obadiah, by the Spirit of prophecy, looks beyond the range of time to that last great day when Christ shall come again in his glory. In that day… 
        There shall be holiness everywhere.
        The whole house of Jacob shall possess their God-given, divinely purchased, rightful possessions.
        Jacob shall be a fire and Esau shall be stubble before him (Ps. 137). 
        The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God (Rev. 11:15). 

4.         The only hope for proud sinners is the Lord Jesus Christ
What is your choice? Will you follow Esau to hell, choosing that which gratifies the flesh; or will you follow Jacob, choosing Christ for your everlasting portion?
There should be deliverance and holiness at Jerusalem, and the house of Jacob would again occupy their possessions. Much of this prophecy was fulfilled when the Jews returned to their own land, to their portion. But the salvation and holiness of the gospel, its spread, and the conversion of the Gentiles, seem also to be intended, especially the restoration of Israel, the destruction of antichrist, and the prosperous state of the church, to which all the prophets bear witness. When Christ is come, and not till then, shall the kingdom be the Lord's in the full sense of the term. As none that exalt themselves against the Lord shall prosper, and all shall be brought down. None that wait upon the Lord, and put their trust in him, shall ever be dismayed. Blessed be the Divine Saviour and Judge on Mount Zion! His word shall be a savour of life unto life unto numbers, while it judges and condemns obstinate unbelievers.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your biblival lesson. Yes, Lord Jesus is our only Hope and hiding place

    ReplyDelete