Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Esau Have I Hated (Obadiah)

I apologize again for the lack of posts. I'm working on a really neat side project right now that's taking up most of my spare time. But I'm not abandoning the blog.

The vision of Obadiah is a short but fierce proclamation of Edom’s destruction. The justification seems simple enough. During the fall of Jerusalem, Edom sided with Judah’s enemies, going so far as to hunt down fugitives to turn over to the Babylonians. It’s wounds from a brother that bite deepest.
On the day that you stood aloof,
on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
The Lord announces his verdict, in a terrifying variation of the golden rule:
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deeds shall return on your own head.
In the end, even though Jerusalem has been plundered and Judah taken off to Israel, the Lord’s judgment will be in their favor:
But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,
and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
and the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.
That certainly settles the matter. Cain who murdered his brother was exiled. Esau who despised his birthright will now be dispossessed. Such is God’s faithfulness to the younger brother Israel.

But what about Israel’s redemption? Is Israel being restored simply to gloat over those who were happy to see her down? What about Esau embracing Jacob and Jacob seeing the face of God? What about Joseph saying “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good?”

Right now it looks to be forgotten. God’s verdict for their destruction is final and all encompassing. Unless, of course, someone with the authority to represent the people might look upon those who cast lots for his clothing and pray “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Edomites were descendants of Esau. You know who else was an Edomite? Herod. Who, usurped the throne of Christ. Do you think the older brother in the prodigal son could be Israel?

Hi Lazarus,

I'm not quite following the point you are trying to make here. Is there something in my post that you are disagreeing with, or are you trying to add something further?

No, I agree. Just thinking out loud. Do you think the prodigal son parable could be about Israel and the gentiles ? Jonah and the Ninevites?

Well, in the immediate context of Jesus' parable, the younger brother who went off to a far country is Israel having gone off to exile and returned, which is symbolized by all the sinners and prostitutes and tax-collectors that Jesus welcomes with open arms. The older brother is the Pharasees and scribes who insist that they have been righteous and keeping the works of the law, and are scandalized at the mercy of the father.

But it also fits really well then to the issue of the Judaizers who are scandalized by the inclusion of the Gentiles, where Israel stands outside and will not enter the house with them. And (if you read my post below) Jonah absolutely embodies this spirit.

much bad theologi here. not christ like, i think. more like satan

Why, it looks like I have a secret detractor! Welcome, Mr. Anonymous!

Better people than I have been accused of being under the influence of devils. But I do have a couple requests:

1 - The statement that I have bad theology and am influenced by Satan, while strong, are a bit vague. Could you tell me what sort of things I have said on this blog that lead you to conclude these things?

2 - I appreciate the need for anonymity on the web, but it would help if I can at least know which anonymous person I'm talking to. If you could use a unique identifier when you post I can at least know it's you, and not the other Anonymous person who thinks I have good theology and sound like Jesus. (feel free to use Name/URL and just put Google or something for the URL).

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