Monday, October 15, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 26, Obadiah 1-9, and Revelation 7:9-17
No one is quite sure who Obadiah was or when he lived. The name itself means “servant” or “worshiper”; the modern name “Christian” would be comparable. It could be a pen name. Some scholars believe that he lived during the reign of Jehoshaphat or Jehoram, but it was most likely written much later, after the destruction of Jerusalem. Edomites were known to have been in on the plundering of the city after the Babylonians overthrew it.
Edomites were the descendants of Esau, whom Jacob had cheated over a bowl of lentils. The two nations never got along well, and Israel conquered them several different times. Obadiah is writing down a prophetic message, addressed to the Jews (most likely of the dispersion), about the coming fall of Edom. It is in the format of a liturgy.
We don’t like to think of God as a judge who punishes wrongdoing. But the Israelites saw him as one who was good to them when they followed him, and who punished them when they turned away. They also saw God as being the ruler and guide of all the nations, especially Israel. They believed that God allowed the other nations to prevail against Israel as a punishment, and allowed Israel to prevail against them in times of blessing.
God still cares what happens among the nations of the earth. However, we Americans are too quick to think of the United States as Israel’s successor, forgetting that the Church is “a nation without borders or language”. The blessings that God promised to Abraham are inherited by the Church – which is throughout the world, not just in the U.S.
Take time to pray for peace on earth and for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Write your own prayer.