(James 1:22-25)”Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. Whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it and does not simply listen and then forget it, but puts it into practice – that person will be blessed by God in what he does.”
What from God’s Word here will you put into action this week?
Indeed, James would seem to be bent on contradicting Paul, when he says that “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), but in reality there is no contradiction at all. James means by “faith” empty professions of belief, creeds that are mere lip service, in the same sense as the saying of Jesus: “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
No one would have agreed with him more than St. Paul. The kind of “works” which Paul condemns, is the hopeless attempt to win salvation by observing all the niceties of Jewish moral and ceremonial law. Whereas the kind of “works” that James regards as indispensable, is the practice of Christian behavior that Paul binds together inseparably with the possession of Christian faith.
Do we just read the Bible and not have people read the Bible through our actions. Do we mark our Bible and not have the Bible mark us.
Religion that is not commitment, trust, and service is not religion at all. There is no merit in being trained on Christian doctrine if we do no more than that. We have only to look at the Old Testament, to see that the real reason why Abraham‘s faith is extolled is that he was the kind of man who was prepared to sacrifice his son, because he believed it was the will of God. Even Rahab receives honorable mention for assisting Joshua’s spies. In other words, faith without deeds to back it up is an empty shell (James 2:1-26). When someone claims to have faith, what he or she may have is intellectual assent – agreement with a set of Christian teachings – incomplete faith.
Obadiah Book Overview
By 800 B.C. both the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern kingdom (Judah) had reached new political and military heights. Peace reigned and business was booming . Even religion was on the rise. However, the exterior calm belied Israel’s inner disease, Idolatry, extravagant Indulgence, and a corrupt judicial system ran beneath the service. In this context, Amos calls for social justice as the foundation for true piety.
|Purpose:||To show that God judges those who have harmed his people|
|Author:||Obadiah. Very little is known about this man, whose name means “servant (or worshiper) of the Lord”|
|To Whom Written:||The Edomites, the Jews in Judah, and God’s people everywhere|
|Date Written:||Possibly during the reign of Jehoram in Judah, 853-841 b.c., or possibly during Jeremiah’s ministry, 627-586 b.c.|
|Setting:||Historically, Edom had constantly harassed the Jews. Prior to the time this book was written, they had participated in attacks against Judah. Given the dates above, this prophecy came after the division of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms and before the conquering of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 b.c.|
|Key Verse:||“The day is near when I, the Lord, Will judge the godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads” (1:15).|
|Key People:||The Edomites|
|Key Places:||Edom, Jerusalem|
|Special Features:||The book of Obadiah uses vigorous poetic language and is written in the form of a dirge of doom.|
I know how to make you mad. I don’t want to. I don’t intend to. But if I desired to, I would know how to do it.
I would insult your family.
I wouldn’t insult you. I would insult your family. I’d mock your mother. I’d make fun of your father. I’d criticize your kids. Again, I’m not going to. But if I did, I know what would happen.
You’d get angry. If there is any shred of loyalty in your heart, you’d tell me to mind my own business.
Even if I were right.
Even if my accusations were accurate. No matter. You’d tell me to quit sticking my nose in your business. When it comes to the family, we look out for our own. God does the same.
God’s children, the Jews,, weren’t the best children. They were stubborn, rebellious, and forgetful. Over the years God dished out the3 dished out the discipline and correction. But through all the stresses and strains. God’s love for his childr5en was stubborn.
Edom, a powerful nation, enjoyed picking on Israel. Here in Obadiah, we see God rising to the defense of his children. He says, in effect, Mess with them and you mess with Me.
It’s a small book with a huge message. God cares for his children.
Wrinkled face, tiny hands with fingernail chips, folds of new skin, and miniature eyes, nose, and mouth—she’s a newborn. After months of formation, she burst forth into the world and into her family. “She has her mother’s eyes.” “I can sure tell who her parents are.” “Now that’s your nose.” Relatives and friends gaze into the little face and see her mom and dad. Mother and Father rejoice in their daughter, a miracle, a new member of the family. As loving parents, they will feed, protect, nurture, guide, and discipline her. This is their duty and joy.
God, too, has children—men and women whom he has chosen as his very own. There have always been individuals marked as his, but with Abraham he promised to build a nation. Israel was to be God’s country, and her people, the Jews, his very own sons and daughters. Down through the centuries, God meted out discipline and punishment, but always with love and mercy. God, the eternal Father, protected and cared for his children.
Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, is a dramatic example of God’s response to anyone who would harm his children. Edom was a mountainous nation, occupying the region southeast of the Dead Sea including Petra, the spectacular city discovered by archaeologists a few decades ago. As descendants of Esau (Genesis 25:19–27:45), the Edomites were blood relatives of Israel, and like their father, they were rugged, fierce, and proud warriors with a seemingly invincible mountain home. Of all people, they should have rushed to the aid of their northern brothers. Instead, however, they gloated over Israel’s problems, captured and delivered fugitives to the enemy, and even looted Israel’s countryside.
Obadiah gave God’s message to the Edomites. Because of their indifference to and defiance of God, their cowardice and pride, and their treachery toward their brothers in Judah, they stood condemned and would be destroyed. The book begins with the announcement that disaster was coming to Edom (1:1-9). Despite their “impregnable” cliffs and mountains, they would not be able to escape God’s judgment. Obadiah then gave the reasons for their destruction (1:10-14)—their blatant arrogance toward God and their persecution of God’s children. This concise prophecy ends with a description of the “day of the Lord,” when judgment will fall on all who have harmed God’s people (1:15-21).
Today, God’s holy nation is his church—all who have trusted Christ for their salvation and have given their lives to him. These men and women are God’s born-again and adopted children. As you read Obadiah, catch a glimpse of what it means to be God’s child, under his love and protection. See how the heavenly Father responds to all who would attack those whom he loves.
|1. Edom’s destruction (1:1-16)
2. Israel’s restoration (1:17-21)
|The book of Obadiah shows the outcome of the ancient feud between Edom and Israel. Edom was proud of its high position, but God would bring her down. Those who are high and powerful today should not be overconfident in themselves, whether they are a nation, a corporation, a church, or a family. Just as Edom was destroyed for its pride, so will anyone be who lives in defiance of God.|
|Justice||Obadiah predicted that God would destroy Edom as punishment for standing by when Babylon invaded Judah. Because of their treachery, Edom’s land would be given to Judah in the day when God rights the wrongs against his people.||God will judge and fiercely punish all who harm his people. We can be confident in God’s final victory. He is our champion, and we can trust him to bring about true justice.|
|Pride||Because of their seemingly invincible rock fortress, the Edomites were proud and self-confident. But God humbled them and their nation disappeared from the face of the earth.||All those who defy God will meet their doom as Edom did. Any nation who trusts in its power, wealth, technology, or wisdom more than in God will be brought low. All who are proud will one day be shocked to discover that no one is exempt from God’s justice.|
|served as a prophet to Judah possibly around 853 b.c.|
|Climate of the times||Edom was a constant thorn in Judah’s side. The Edomites often participated in attacks initiated by other enemies.|
|Main message||God will judge Edom for its evil actions toward God’s people.|
|Importance of message||Just as Edom was destroyed and disappeared as a nation, so God will destroy proud and wicked people.|
|Contemporary prophets||Elijah (875-848 b.c.), Micaiah (865-853 b.c.), Jehu (855-840? b.c.)|
Whereas his contemporary, Hosea, focuses on the love of God and spiritual adultery, Amos focuses on the righteousness of God and social injustice. He often makes his points by use of a simple rhetorical Question. Amos speaks as a simple Judean Judean farmer burdened for the materialistic nation of Israel. His prayer averts the total destruction of Israel. Still his message was most unpopular. However, social acceptance didn’t matter to one who’s job was not on the line. In Amos, God roars like a lion and brings hope only at the end. The book of Amos is constantly shadowed by clouds of judgment as the Lord reacts to the cruel social events in the land. Amos’ message is an uncomfortable one in any age. Amos challenges us to examine ourselves and our society and to confront injustice wherever we find it.
The Sayings of Agur
1 The message of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle.I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. 2 I am too ignorant to be human, and I lack common sense. 3I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
4 Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know!
5 Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection. 6 Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you, and you will be found a liar. 7 O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. 8First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
10 Never slander a person to his employer. If you do, the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11 Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. 12They feel pure, but they are filthy and unwashed. 13 They are proud beyond description and disdainful. 14 They devour the poor with teeth as sharp as swords or knives. They destroy the needy from the face of the earth.
15 The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more!” There are three other things—no, four!—that are never satisfied:
16 the grave,
the barren womb,
the thirsty desert,
the blazing fire.
17The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.
18There are three things that amaze me—no, four things I do not understand:
19 how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.
20Equally amazing is how an adulterous woman can satisfy her sexual appetite, shrug her shoulders, and then say, “What’s wrong with that?”
21There are three things that make the earth tremble—no, four it cannot endure:
22 a slave who becomes a king,
an overbearing fool who prospers,
23 a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,
a servant girl who supplants her mistress.
24 There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:
25Ants—they aren’t strong,
but they store up food for the winter.
26Rock badgers—they aren’t powerful,
but they make their homes among the rocky cliffs.
27Locusts—they have no king,
but they march like an army in ranks.
28Lizards—they are easy to catch,
but they are found even in kings’ palaces.
29There are three stately monarchs on the earth—no, four:
30 the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything,
31 the strutting rooster,
the male goat,
a king as he leads his army.
32If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, don’t brag about it—cover your mouth with your hand in shame.
33As the beating of cream yields butter, and a blow to the nose causes bleeding, so anger causes quarrels.
The origin of these sayings is not clear. Nothing is known about Agur except that he was a wise teacher who may have come from Lemuel’s kingdom (see the note on 31:1).
Because God is infinite, certain aspects of his nature will always remain a mystery. Compare these questions with the questions God asked Job (Job 38–41).
Some scholars feel that the son referred to is the Son of God, the preincarnate being of the Messiah who, before the foundation of the earth, participated in the Creation. Colossians 1:16, 17 teaches that through Christ the world was created.
Having too much money can be dangerous, but so can having too little. Being poor can, in fact, be hazardous to spiritual as well as physical health. On the other hand, being rich is not the answer. As Jesus pointed out, rich people have trouble getting into God’s Kingdom (Matthew 19:23, 24). Like Paul, we can learn how to live whether we have little or plenty (Philippians 4:12), but our lives are more likely to be effective if we have “neither poverty nor riches.”
This phrase refers to prideful and haughty people who look down on others. Verses 11-14 contain a fourfold description of arrogance.
“Three things … no, four” is a poetic way of saying the list is not complete. The writer of these proverbs is observing the world with delighted interest. Verses 15-31 are an invitation to look at nature from the perspective of a keen observer.
Ants can teach us about preparation; badgers about wise building; locusts about cooperation and order; and lizards about fearlessness.