Do you ever take silent pleasure when someone who has criticized or mistreated you falls or suffers a setback? Is that how we should react? Is there a problem with rejoicing when “what goes around comes around”? Today’s reading in Obadiah looks at those questions.
In our New Testament reading, yesterday’s opening of the first six seals in Revelation prophecy a time of famine, death, earthquakes, volcanoes, murder, chaos and disaster. It will be followed by a time of eerie calm and devastating fear as the God of heaven is seen on His throne and the world reels in terror over “what’s next?” But first, an angel prepares a great evangelistic force.
Earthquakes, Volcanoes & Terror: What’s Next?
As we saw yesterday when the Tribulation begins Jesus will one by one remove the 7 seals from the scroll of God’s judgment: 1 … represented by a rider on a white horse sent out to conquer through deception, 2 … a rider on a red horse of bloodshed and murder, 3 … a black horse of famine and shortages, 4 … a pale horse of death and decay when his rider is given the power to kill one-fourth of the world’s population, 5 … the Saints in heaven praying for God’s judgment on evil and evil men, and 6 … heaven is rolled back like a scroll to reveal God on His throne, yet men will experience overpowering fear rather than repentance. This seal will unleash a worldwide earthquake, volcanic eruptions, stars that seem to fall from the sky, and a blood-red moon. But then … before the 7th seal is opened …
An eerie calm—no wind, nothing moving. After worldwide chaos … complete calm (Rev. 8.1)! And the people of the earth are left to wonder, “What’s next?”
As they do, God sends out His angel to put a mark of protection on 144,000 redeemed Jews who will become a great missionary force during the remainder of the Tribulation period. As I said a few days ago, though the Tribulation will be a time of judgment, it will also be a time when His grace is poured out and many will come to saving faith in Christ!
Guarding Our Hearts
The two verses that really jumped out at me were 12 & 13:
12 “ But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother
In the day of his captivity;
Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah
In the day of their destruction;
Nor should you have spoken proudly
In the day of distress.
13 You should not have entered the gate of My people
In the day of their calamity.
Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction
In the day of their calamity,
Nor laid hands on their substance
In the day of their calamity.
God was rebuking the nation of Edom, the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother. These distant cousins took pleasure in the fall of Israel and Judah. They rejoiced in their calamity and even took advantage of the situation, perhaps by pillaging the city after it was deserted.
How much more as believers in Jesus Christ—those who have God’s Holy Spirit resident within us—should we guard our hearts against any such thing, whether with our biological family or our brothers and sisters in Christ! We are told to love, help and pray for even our enemies, to say nothing of those who are part of our family.
And yet, we sometimes take silent pleasure when someone who has criticized us falls, or in thinking “what goes around comes around!” While it is true that there are laws of sowing and reaping, we should be grieved not happy when it happens. We should pray for God to use it for good to turn that unbeliever to Christ or to cause a sinning brother or sister to repent, turn back to God, and live rightly.
Today’s Other Readings:
As the psalmist continues to cry out to God in his distress, remember he does so on the basis of God’s righteousness and not his own. That is the reason we pray “in Jesus name.” We are the righteousness of God in Christ, not because of any inherent goodness in us!
Put Your Trust in Him
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”
God will be a shield to us if we put our trust in Him and not our own talents and abilities. But we must also trust in His timing and His way of doing things. Too often we expect Him to do things our way and so fail to see His answers.
This year is fast drawing to a close and many of us are thinking about 2018. We’ll set goals for eating better and using that gym membership. We may set financial or career goals. Some may choose a word or character trait to focus on this year. But let’s not neglect the most important area of life …
In the next few days, we’ll talk about grace, the responsibility involved in being a true friend, the opening of the 7th seal in Revelation, and pose the question “Are we placing our hope in truth or lies?”
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