The minor prophet Obadiah gives Christians today a glimpse into the past, into God’s character and His promises, and into His work in the future. Read it today!
By Mark D, Harris
Last spring, I decided to explore uncommon territory in my Sunday School class. I asked the members how many had read Nahum or Obadiah. A few hands went up, only because they had been on thru-the-bible-in-a-year programs. I then asked who knew what either of them was about. Not a hand was in sight.
I quickly realized that we would have to do a lot of back work to understand either book, so the next few Sundays we covered empires in the ancient near east, including Sumeria, Egypt, the Hyksos, the Hittites, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, and Greece. Fortunately, I read and discuss history for fun and watch historical documentaries for entertainment, so it was no work. Then when studied Jonah, which occurred about a century before Nahum.
Obadiah is one of the neglected books in the Bible, nestled among the minor prophets of the Old Testament between Amos the Shepherd and Jonah the Reluctant Prophet. Only one chapter long, a distinction that it shares with Philemon, 2 & 3 John and Jude, Obadiah reveals the judgment of God on Edom, the descendants of Esau. Measured by how often books are read on Bible Gateway, Obadiah is the least popular book in the Bible, surpassing even Nahum in its obscurity.
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We sin, we repent, and then we sin again. Understanding Noah’s flood gives us hints to break the cycle.
The 2016 Presidential Campaign in the United States has begun, and most of the candidates have claimed the Christian faith. Only the candidates know their hearts, and while outsiders are told to “know a tree by its fruit”, to judge based on what a person does, no one can ultimately state whether or not another’s name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Some presidential hopefuls mention their religion and then hurry on to other topics. Others, especially evangelicals, reveal how their religion impacts their politics. The faith statements of the first group are taken at face value, but those of the later often engender special ridicule.
People who take the Bible seriously and try to order their lives by it have always been misunderstood. Whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox, those who study Scripture and try to follow it, all of it, have no lack of foes. One of the favorite games of those who oppose life-changing Christianity is to set up a caricature of what such Christians believe and then try to mock them into oblivion. Creation and Intelligent Design are favored targets, but so is the flood of Noah. This article will discuss Biblical and scientific issues around the Flood of Noah.
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The name Jonathan Edwards is the first many people remember when discussing the Great Awakening. His signature sermon, Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God, delivered 8 July 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut, was electrifying; with wails and cries in the congregation and the fear of God on the lips of His people. It is the most famous sermon of the Great Awakening, a move of the Holy Spirit in which an estimated 5% of the population of the colonies found the Lord.
In a communications class today, however, Edwards might have received a failing grade on delivery. Most modern speakers are taught to speak from notes, to gesticulate, to vary the inflection of their voices, and to mix current events, humor, and even music and drama into their preaching. Edwards did nothing of the sort. He was an academic who spent most of his work hours in his pastor’s study. He wrote every speech, choosing each word with exquisite care, and read the sermon in a monotone voice. Edwards was so nearsighted that he kept his text close in front of his face to see it. Sinners has neither jokes nor anything calculated to identify with or engage the congregation. Churchill, the foremost orator of the first half of the 20th century, would probably have commended Edwards for reading his sermons but condemned him for his presentation.
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