God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1 - Obadiah; Psalms 82-83: God's Punishment is No Laughing Matter

Today’s Reading: Obadiah; Psalms 82-83

The Message

English Standard Version

We read the entirety of Obadiah (17), a short book found in what we call the "Minor Prophets," today. It opens a new section of scripture which will take us until the end of September to finish.

Tomorrow marks the half-way point!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Obadiah and Asaph warn against gloating when the wicked are being punished.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Obadiah tells Edom a message from God.
"Doom and destruction coming to get you! You think you can hide in your strength. Wrong! God will find you wherever you are.
"You will be picked clean. Your whole world will fall apart. Because you fought against Israel, God will fight against you.
"Foreigners came and destroyed Jerusalem and you acted blasé. You stood by and suggested they received what they deserved. You punished the deserters and took advantage of the refugees.
"God's Judgment Day comes for you. Israel will have their land returned. The exiles will return and honor God's kingdom."

Psalm (P)Synopsis

Psalm 82

Asaph describes a scene where God grills judges for perverting justice. It is their fault that their world is coming apart. They were commissioned for a task and failed. Now they are relieved of duty.

Psalm 83

Asaph calls for God to save him! God's enemies are plotting to defeat Him. They gang up against him and Asaph calls them by name and calls God to get rid of them. This way they will realize God is the real god.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Obadiah's message: Do not join when God punishes others.

God punished Israel for their sin by sending in foreign invaders. Instead of learning from Israel's mistakes or trying to help them through the siege, Edom sat back and laughed at Israel's punishment. They killed the deserters and punished the refugees. They thought, "Israel sinned against God. They deserved it. No one was innocent." However, what Edom did not understand and what would eventually condemn them is that God has exclusive authority to punish. We cannot join or add to the punishment.
What does this mean for today? We should not revel in other people's punishments. When people have sinned against God and receive their punishment, God's People should not laugh at, mock, or remind them that they caused their own punishment. God always wants everyone to repent and return and will protect them from anyone who adds to his punishment. Christians should not look down on non-Christians when they are punished with the fruits of their lifestyles. We should help set things right between in all of their relationships.

Judges have an obligation not to pervert justice.

Their job is simple,
You're here to defend the defenseless,
   to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless,
   and prosecute all those who exploit them. (Psalm 82, 3-4, The Message)
Judges are not to pervert justice, no matter how difficult the decision may be.

Calling for punishment is not the same as enjoying someone's punishment.

In the same day's reading we have good and bad attitudes towards God's punishment. The difference is in the purpose of the response. Edom didn't care about God and laughed at Israel for being wrong. Asaph wants his enemies to be punished because they were God's enemies. He wanted them to see God's Power. When we call out for God to punish our enemies, make sure they are His enemies.

Do you call for God to bring justice or do you laugh at the problems of others?

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