Obadiah 17-21 – Promised Restoration

Read Obadiah 17-21

I learned today the Edomites were taken down in the 5th century B.C. God used a people called the Nabateans to defeat the Edomites and force them from their main city of Petra. The interval between prediction and fulfillment would, therefore, have been very short, assuming Obadiah was writing following the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. When Obadiah prophesied this promise, it was probably thought to be crazy. Judah was the more likely candidate to not survive (that’s only when you take God’s will out of the equation)! The Edomites would later disappear from history completely, marking the total destruction of one of Israel’s enemies.

It always helps me to understand the context of a story to aid in understanding. The Negev region was very dry and hot in the southern part of Judah. The foothills would be found in western Judah. Phoenicia would be an ancient civilization along the Mediterranean, primarily located in modern-day Lebanon.

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Joel 2:18-27 – Restoration

Read Joel 2:18-27

What divine intervention! If Joel’s earlier words led his audience to believe they would be the laughingstock for belonging to the one true God, this passage lessens the distress. Can we assume that the people did repent and pray and this is God’s response?

Have you ever feared or experienced mockery for your faith? How did that make you feel? Did you realize God was there all the time?

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Hebrews 13:4-6 – Sex & Money

Read Hebrews 13:4-6

Keep in mind that our reading today comes from the Preacher’s closing remarks. As such, we encounter those important “last-minute details” we mustn’t overlook. These few verses handle three hot-button items: Marriage, Sex, and Money.

Times haven’t changed that much because we could agree those are highly relevant topics still today. What wisdom can we glean for ourselves?

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Hebrews 12:5-13 – Divine Discipline

Read Hebrews 12:5-13

I was spanked as a child, were you? It was “for my own good,” I was told. Take a step back in time and think about how your parents disciplined you while growing up. I apologize if you were the “perfect” child who never riled anger or correction from your parents. I was not. Not even close! I spent many nights “grounded.”

When we become parents ourselves, our perspective on the whole idea of discipline abruptly changes. If not a parent, think of a time when you were put in charge of a room full of children and felt totally out of your element. (That’s what being a parent can feel like sometimes!)

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Jeremiah 45:1-5 – God’s Promises

Read Jeremiah 45:1-5

pinky promise between two young hands

We first met Baruch in Chapter 36 when Jeremiah called for him to be the scribe to write down all of God’s messages. We also know that he and Jeremiah were both taken to Egypt, most probably against their wishes. Both Jeremiah and Baruch seemed to be in touch with God’s view of the situation, wanting to be obedient to the one true God.

Having received this message from the Lord long before the trek to Egypt would suggest multiple applications. Baruch, and possibly Jeremiah, would have had a shimmer of hope as they were facing a new life in Egypt (from our last reading). This promise probably also sustained Baruch when he spoke in Jeremiah’s place. God protected them then as well. I don’t think God’s promises have expiration dates.

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