“For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations.  As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.”  Obadiah 15 NASB

Done – Obadiah is a tiny book in the Old Testament.  Only 21 verses long, it is the description of a vision given to the prophet Obadiah.  In this verse, the same Hebrew word is used twice.  The word asah means “to do” or “to make.”  It has both a general sense and a special ethical sense.  In the general sense, it can be used in any context where a creative action takes place (to make, fashion, accomplish or do).  But when it is used to describe God’s acts in history, it emphasizes God’s complete control of the temporal span.  God is both the creator of all life and the controller of all living.  Everything works toward His purposes.  His will is going to be done, no matter what.  The only question for us is this:  Are we cooperating with His will or inhibiting it?

This word is used extensively in the Genesis account of creation.  However, it is never used to describe a creative act that brings something entirely new into existence (for example, the creation of the heavens and earth or of light).  It is only used to describe objects and beings that are formed from something else (for example, it is used to describe the formation of Havvah from Adam).  This difference is critical.  It clearly shows that God’s creative acts fall into two categories.  God’s creations are not simply extensions of something that already existed.  When God started creating, nothing else existed at all.

Obadiah reminds us of something else that belongs to the realm of God’s actions in our history – the exercise of judgment.  Notice that this verse is the reverse of the Golden Rule:  What you have done to others will be done to you.  There is a flipside to salvation. Judgment is coming, says God.  It is inevitable and inescapable.  Your life and mine will come under the microscope of God’s holiness.  What we have done to others will become our own fate.

This is chilling and frightening.  How many acts of deception, hostility, revenge, unfaithfulness, insensitivity, anger, jealousy, envy, greed or harm have I perpetrated on others, willfully or not?  How will I survive Judgment Day when all of my own self-centeredness is distilled into a poison vile and offered for me to drink?  Thank God, literally, that Yeshua’s atonement settled the account for me.  I don’t have to fear Judgment, but I do have to live in the light of judgment.  Setting aside the verdict of condemnation does not mean that God has no expectations.  Obadiah pushes us toward Yeshua’s parable of the unmerciful debtor (Matthew 18:23 ff).  Worthiness is still a matter of concern.  God forgive me, I desperately need it.

Topical Index: Obadiah 15, Judgment Day, Matthew 18:23

  • Ian Hodge March 6, 2012 at 4:38 am

    “I don’t have to fear Judgment, but I do have to live in the light of judgment.”

    Skip, I love the way you have put this.

  • Gayle Johnson March 6, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I read this chapter last week, and because it uses the word NATIONS, I first thought of how it might apply to our own nation, and the acts we have done in the world. It grieves me deeply.

    It really shows the personal relationship, though, of how our actions are merely SEEDS we sow into our future. I have prayed many times for a crop failure of my own horrible deeds. For me, more repentance is necessary, and a renewed determination to stay in The Way.

  • Ifeoma Edoziem March 6, 2012 at 6:57 am

    ‘Living in the light of judgment’, I love the way the Holy Spirit helps you to present Truth to us especially me. With this statement I am reminded to have this deliberately at the fore in all my dealings remotely and otherwise.

    Thank You Skip

  • carl roberts March 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Yes, the Law of the Harvest. We will reap what we have sown. “If” (such a big-little word!) we have sown the wind, we will (according to the never-failing word of G-d) reap the whirlwind.

    But.. we (now) through the regenerative and restorative power of the Ruach Hakodesh are now enabled and empowered to sow a different crop and to also (confidently) expect a different harvest! The fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control also contain seeds within each “fruit” -a “seed” which will multiply and bring with it a harvest of righteousness and shalom!
    Today, each of us will be carefully choosing and sowing seeds. The field is the world. The fruit that is harvested is totally dependent upon the kind and quality of seed that is sown.
    A sower went forth to sow.. – and is there a better seed to sow than the word(s) of G-d?

  • David Salyer March 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Reminded (“as you have done, it will be done to you”) of the convicting if not frightening implications of that portion of the Disciples Prayer found in Matthew 6:12 which reads:

    “And FORGIVE US our debts, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN our debtors.”

    Doesn’t appear to be a lot of wiggle room here. Basically asking God not just to lavish us with His gracious and undeserved/unmerited forgiveness and to wipe our slate clean, but to do so by using the way we have graciously forgiven (or not forgiven) others as His measuring tape. Any wonder this is a model for prayer of humble and submissive dependence on God to help us from ourselves and to convict us of our own inadequacies to ultimately merit His favor other than to become more like His Son (“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”)?

  • Christopher March 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Skip for the “asah.”

    Last Shabbat our opening prayer was all of Obadiah. We prayed that Bibi would reference these verses in his meeting with the president. So relevant to Israel’s/our situation.
    Instead, the PM used an equally representative sefer…Esther. Even more relevant, and almost a mirror image of what our brothers in Israel are facing. <~~~~~~~

  • MarkB March 15, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Love this… well put Skip!

  • Jan Carver March 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

    my one & only son Jeremy “Obadiah” Carver – is named after the prophet Obadiah – not many a man has this name except the one in the Bible.

    i read a story once of a daughter who prayed God would give her the names of her children & she asked that her mother would be given their middle name(s) – so i did the same before my son was born. my mother called me one morning (i did not tell her that i was praying God would give her the middle name of my son) & she told me she had been up all night long reading the book of “Obadiah” & she could not understand what God was saying/speaking to her & i knew immediately what HE was saying/speaking to her & told her & i gave my son the middle name of “Obadiah” so this name, the prophet, this book in the Bible is very very special to me.

    btw – i didn’t know if i was having a boy or a girl until one day a man called my home about two cross stitching items i had made for my nursery from precious moments patterns – a boy & a girl to have them blocked & framed because i didn’t know which it was going to be – a boy or a girl. i answered the phone & the man or woman at the cleaners (can’t remember the gender) told me they had some bad news for me. i knew that i didn’t use that cleaners for having my clothes cleaned so i was kinda surprised but listened – they asked me if i had taken some items to the framing shop to be blocked for framing & i responded with a yes & the person said with a sad voice they had lost one of the cross stitching items & i became very excited because i knew this was my answer before the person even said which one they had lost & i very excitedly said which one did you lose or which one is missing & they said the girl one – they could only find the boy. i was so excited & the person on the other side of the phone was sort of surprised that i was not angry but very excited – i don’t think i shared the news with them but they were glad i was not mad at them & yes, i did have a boy & his first name is Jeremy which is short for Jeremiah (another prophet) & his middle name is “Obadiah” another prophet of the Lord. His paternal grandparents (which were not saved at the time & i don’t know about today) did not want me to give my son this middle name but i did not let that sway me in the least.

    and the funny thing about the cross stitching – the nursery at the hospital where i delivered Jeremy Obadiah Carver – had my little girl cross stitching hanging above the door (in the nursery) & i ask the nurses where they got the cross stitching & they said some woman brought it one day & gave it to them. i knew it was mine but i never signed my work, never thought there would be a need to & i didn’t need it now anyway because i had the boy God gave me (both of them). GOD IS A GOOD & WONDERFUL & AWESOME BEING THAT LOVES US SO MUCH – HIS WAYS ARE MIRACULOUS & LOVING TOWARD US.

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