Reflections founded on the book of Obadiah as a whole.
Pride…“A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements.”
Obadiah faced the challenges of making Gods voice heard by the people of Edom, tasked by God to deliver a message to a people who were deceived by their prideful hearts. The people of Edom were literally living “on high” in the mountains believing that they were untouchable by their enemies. Proud of their accomplishments and victories over some of their own people they were blinded to the message of devastation that Obadiah presented. Obadiah’s specific calling was to prepare the people of Edom for what they deserved, their pride and selfishness had forced the hand of God to do to them what they had done to His people. (As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” v.15b).
Obadiah name means “servant of the Lord”, it was the service of sharing the vision the Lord gave Obadiah that became his mission, proclaiming the “Day of the Lord” (v.15). As with some of the other Minor Prophets already discussed, this mission of declaring judgment to the people comes as a heavy task. Today as Christians we often like to focus of the positive and exciting changes that come with planting a seed of hope in someone’s life, most often we shy away from talking about what will happen on flip side of the coin. Much has changed since the days of prophecy through Obadiah and the other prophets but one thing still remains, God’s love and promise of eternal life with Him. Outside of a covenant relationship with God through His Son, with a prideful and selfish heart we are living so dangerously close to the same fate of the men and women who fell in the destruction of Edom.
Reflections founded on the book of Amos as a whole.
I never really have spent much time in the book of Amos even after reading through it a few times this past week I found it to be a difficult read. One thing I can identify with is who Amos was, he was a regular guy who had a regular job and was called out of that life by God to a specific ministry. Amos was called to a ministry that carried the heavy weight of bringing a message of warning to people of Israel who once again have forgotten who God is and the covenant they made with Him. Amos was dealing with people much like those in the culture that surrounds us today, a wealthy, greedy, self centered and materialistic group of people.
Through the words of the Lord Amos became noticed by the priests and the king, the words Amos was prophesying were making waves; they were reaching people and making them uncomfortable. God chose Amos for a reason, just as he chooses each of us for a specific purpose or purposes. Amos was chosen for an extraordinary task, an everyday ordinary guy proclaiming the doom and gloom of the judgment of God as a warrior over all those who opposed Him. I often put myself into shoes of the person or situation that I am reading about or try to relate with how their lives translate into our culture today. Sometimes I get pretty comfortable sitting behind my desk learning and reflecting on what God has done in the past; often I am inspired by these men of God to take action in being on task with presenting the good news to others.
It isn’t right till the end of the book of Amos that we hear of the hope that gives us a picture of God’s great love and mercy for his people. Here Amos tells us of the few faithful people that will be left standing to carry on with the work of the Lord, a following that would one day see the fulfillment of the promised blessing of the Lord. Amos was an ordinary man and did extraordinary things through the power of God; we should be expectant and hopeful that God will do the same with us.
(Reflections based on the book of Joel as a whole)
Yahweh is God, that is the meaning of the name Joel and as I read through the verses in this short book I begin to see how the meaning of Joel’s name connects to his personal calling. Joel’s mission was to make the people aware who has control over everything, the one true God, Yahweh. Joel’s uses the events of the locust plague and warns the Israelite people that the “day of the Lord” was coming and all who turn away will be destroyed. Joel in his best effort tries to get the people to open their hearts and minds to the truths of the message that God is all-powerful and trustworthy.
As I read these few chapters one verse really sent me a clear message of God’s power. Chapter 2:3 reads “Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them.” The God who created what was made to be perfect (Eden) also has the power and authority to destroy and take away. Joel’s plea for the people to repent came from a deep personal understanding in his own heart of who God is, on God’s behalf Joel was calling them back into a covenant relationship with Yahweh.
I think Joel faced many of the same things that we face today; we have a generation of people that don’t even know who God is and for many they don’t want to know. We have a culture that focus on everything but the truths of the bible; people have chosen to do things for themselves, they have been raised into a culture that is self-serving. We like Joel need to be a part of the calling to bring people back to a faith in not just the next thing that is bigger and better, we need to be calling people to experience the heart change of the grace, mercy and love of our heavenly father.
(Reflections on the book of Hosea as a whole).
Hosea’s calling as a prophet unravels through a humanly painful experience that gives us a picture of God’s unconditional love for all his people through the living example of unfaithfulness in the marriage between Hosea and Gomer; a marriage that seemed “doomed” from the beginning. The experiences, the emotions and the actions that Hosea experienced would have brought any strong man to his knees; this was a special assignment from God. Hosea, called by God was made strong to be an example of the love, grace and mercy the Lord had for His people.
It might be that a relationship can withstand a single indiscretion of unfaithfulness and I have witnessed God’s power and healing love through the trials of a personal friend. When we read Hosea’s story and recount the continuous unfaithfulness of Gomer and God’s people we can reflect on how this same pattern was and still is active in the world today. Through Hosea we get a picture of who God is and His unchanging faithfulness. Chapter 3 gives us the beautiful picture of God’s redeeming grace and mercy “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.” (NLT).
Through countless infractions we read of impending destruction, the turning change of heart because of the love God had for His people and chance given for people to return back to the Lord. Hosea’s call to bring the people back to God through these events is a call like no other. As I have been called to serve among God’s people I have to pray, trust and know that God is a pillar of faithfulness and that I must draw from that strength in my own life and ministry.