Judgment is not solely for the purpose of punishing the wicked
This judgment is not solely for the purpose of punishing the sinners or the wicked but also serves to ensure the blessing and the vindication of those who have trusted the Lord and sought to live faithfully before him.
As Obadiah reminds us at the end of his short book, the final purpose of Edom’s destruction, as the final purpose of the judgment of all evil kingdoms and peoples is the establishment of the Lord’s own kingdom and the blessing of his own people. Edom must be removed so that Israel may eventually flourish!
You have this same motivation for judgment stated still more bluntly in Rev. 21. After describing the bliss of heaven in the first verses of the chapter, we read in v. 8:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
The principle, commonsensical as it is, is that there can be no heaven if it is populated by people who love neither God nor man. The reason for hell is that there may be heaven! The New Jerusalem cannot exist if Edomites walk its streets.
• Fourth, and finally, once again we return to the fact that this oracle was not written for Edom but for Israel.
True enough, it was written for her encouragement, to remind her that the Lord would judge her enemies in due time and would restore her, and that the Lord’s kingdom would be established forever and his people live in it in happiness and peace.
But it was also a reminder of the judgment that had befallen them, virtually the same judgment that would befall the Edomites.
After all, the Babylonians did to Edom eventually what they had done to Israel first. Israel had not been immune from judgment when she had committed the same sins that Edom committed against her.
In all our considerations of the judgments of the Lord, in all our quibbling about its supposed injustice, we would do well to remember that the Bible teaches us this reality and assures us of its final and cataclysmic fulfilment at the end of history primarily for our sake.
We must keep steadily before our eyes the possible judgment and punishment not first of some distant peoples, or of our neighbours, but of ourselves! Obadiah was written for Israelites to read!
You do realize, I’m sure; don’t you, that the prospect of this divine judgment at the end changes everything! Everything in your life, every moment of every day, must be seen in a different light if only we take seriously this coming reckoning and the reality of divine judgment.
You can’t remain on the sideline because you are alive and someday you will die. Edom, after all, was destroyed, just as Obadiah said she would be. She ceased to exist in 553 B.C. Her judgment was complete and final; too late then to realize her fatal errors and do something about them.
Obadiah points the way. The kingdom shall at last be the Lord’s. We must make sure that we are the Lord’s. And who is the Lord? He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, as the New Testament is at pains to remind us. Or as the Apostle Paul put it, “Everyone who confesses that Jesus is Lord shall be saved.”
The Lord leads us into green pastures. He expects us to feed ourselves and as long as we play and whine the grass cannot be greener on any side of the fence.
No man or organization can replace the King and Shepherd of our souls. He never left the throne. We just set up a new one and put ourselves on it. The party that never should have been must end and we must return to His throne, find grace, and help in our present need.
It is time for us to waken up and smell the coffee. Do you realise how urgent it is to get right with God? Are you sure of where you will spend eternity?
Are you warning others and sharing the gospel with them?
By pastor Eileen Miller