August 7, 2015

Aug. 7 - Obadiah - 
It is Obadiah’s assignment to give voice to God’s word of judgment against Edom (ancestors of Esau)..

At first reading, Obadiah appears to provide a broadside indictment     of Edom’s cruel injustice to God’s chosen people.  Edom is the villain and God’s covenant people the victim.  But the last line of the    prophecy takes a giant step out of the centuries of hate and rivalry and invective.  

Israel, so often the victim of Edomite aggression through the centuries is suddenly revealed to be saved from  injustices of the past and taking up a position of rule over their ancient enemies.  But instead of doing to others what had been done to them and continuing the cycle of violence that they had been caught in, they are presented as taking over the reins of government and administering God’s justice justly.  

They find themselves in a new context -- God’s kingdom -- and realize that they have a new vocation -- to represent God’s rule....Only the first rays of the light of justice appear here.  But these rays will eventually add up to a kingdom of light....                   

Obadiah 1 - 
Obadiah’s message to Edom from God, the Master. Listen to this Edom:  I’m turning you to a no-account, the runt of the godless nations, despised.  You thought you were so great,  perched there among the rocks, kings of the mountains...Think again, even if like an eagle, you hang out on a high cliff-face.  Even if you build your nests in the stars, I’ll bring you down to earth.”  

God’s sure Word....Your great heroes will desert you, Teman.  There’ll be nobody left in Esau’s mountains because of the murderous history compiled against your brother Jacob....You stood there & watched.  You were as bad as they were.  You shouldn’t have gloated over your brother when he was down and out.  You shouldn’t have laughed and joked at Judah’s sons when they were facedown in the mud.  You shouldn’t have talked so big when everything was so bad.  You shouldn’t have taken advantage of my people when their lives had fallen apart....All you have done, it will be done to you.  What you did will boomerang back and hit your own head... God said it and it is so....

The remnant of the saved in Mount Zion will go into the mountains of Esau and rule justly and fairly, a rule that honors God’s kingdom.     

Acts 27
As soon as arrangements were complete for our sailing to Italy, Paul and a few of the prisoners were placed under the supervision of a centurion named Julius, a member of an elite guard.  The next day after departing, they put into the port at Sidon.  Julius treated Paul most decently--let him go off the ship and enjoy the hospitality of his friends there.  Once back at sea, they faced several storms.  After much difficulty, they made it to the island of Crete....

By now, they had lost a lot of time.  They had passed the autumn equinox so it would be stormy weather from now on through the winter, too dangerous for sailing, Paul warned...but it was not the best harbor for staying the winter.  Phoenix, a few miles further on,was more suitable.  The centurion set Paul’s warning aside and let the ship captain and the ship owner talk him into trying for the next harbor.... They were no sooner out to sea when a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter struck.  They lost all control of the ship.  It was a cork in the storm so they considered an attempt to reach the small island of Clauda though the rocky shoals prevented them from getting close...

The next day they threw cargo over, then by the 3rd day, they lightened the ship further by throwing over all the tackle and provisions.  It had been many days since they had seen either sun or stars.  Wind and waves were battering them unmercifully, and they lost all hope of rescue.                        

With their appetite for both food and life long gone, Paul took his place in the midst and said, “Friends you really should have listened to me in Crete.  We could have avoided all this trouble and trial.  But there is no need to dwell on that now.  From now on things are looking up!  I assure you that there’ll not be a single drowning among us, although I can’t say as much for the ship--the ship itself is doomed.  Last night, God’s angel stood at my side saying, “Don’t give up, Paul....So dear friends, take heart.  I believe God will do exactly what he told me.  But we’re going     to shipwreck on some island or another.
On the 14th night, adrift somewhere in the Adriatic Sea, at about midnight, the sailors sensed they were approaching land...some of the sailors tried to jump ship...Paul saw their guise and told the centurion and his the soldiers cut the lines to the lifeboats and let it drift off.  With dawn about to break, Paul called everyone     together and proposed breakfast...”I urge you to eat something now.  You’ll need strength for the rescue     ahead.  you are going to come out of this without even a scratch!”  He broke the bread, gave thanks to God, passed it around, and they all ate heartily -- 276 of them all told.
At daybreak, they noticed a bay with a nice beach, but they didn’t make it as they hit a reef and the ship began to break up.  They soldiers decided to kill the prisoners so none could escape by swimming but the centurion, determined to save Paul, stopped them...Everyone made it to shore safely.