That's the Book: Obadiah
I have car issues. Moldy Starbucks mugs, missing socks, mountains of papers and old french fry kinds of issues. For Valentine's Day my husband bought me a gift card to get the car detailed at a local service shop. Out of a mix of embarrassment and schedule crunches I haven't made it in.
I recognize this is like thinking you have to get your life straight before the local church will let you in. I totally understand. No way am I showing my mess to the car guys. Pride is getting in the way of me getting help.
Pride is dangerous. Pride is also the theme of the short message from Obadiah.
Remember the story of Jacob and Esau? Two brother's who warred over their inheritance? Fast forward Jacob's decedendants became the people of Israel. Esaus' became the people of Edom. Edom was also the country just east of Israel. Brothers. Neighbors.
When Israel was taken into captivity by the Babylonians you'd hope that their neighboring relations would have come to the rescue. Instead, the Edomites caught escaping Judeans and handed them over to their enemies. They also plundered the remaining cities.
The prophet Obadiah has a message for these prideful and vengeful Edomites.
"The pride of your heart has decieved you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, Who can bring me down to the ground?" Obadiah 1:3
This afternoon I was doing some random pickup in the house. I piled all the kid's belongings which were strewn throughout the house into a laundry basket and set it at the top of the stairs for them to deal with and put away. I was gloating a bit that none of the pile was my mess. Rare shocker but true. Mom lecture in full force.
Then I remembered my car.
"You should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble." Obadiah 1:12
Listen here. I recognize that catching my kids in a lie or a mess is minor when compared to laughing over a person in misery. But is it? Have you been there? When you laugh at someone else's pain? Or cheer when a rival fails? Ever felt the temptation to rat someone out and laugh as you watch consequences roll? Sigh. Pride and envy and selfishness are ugly. All the time. I can talk a good grace message but do I put it into practice with the people closest to me? Sometimes.
I hauled myself out to the garage and set to work dealing with my junk. Guess what? My laundry basket was more full than the kids. My earlier gloating was a pitiful joke.
"The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head." Obadiah 1:15
Centuries later the promised Messiah preached a similar message. "So in everything, do to others what you want have them do to you, fur this sums up the Law and the Prophets" Matthew 7:12. A concept used in the prophets for judgment and warning Jesus used for blessing. Justice and Grace intertwined again. Truly it sounds like we get to pick. Grace or judgment? What do you want? What do you give?
You see, pride was keeping me from using the gift my husband gave me. Pride was also causing me to boast and puff to my kids about their failings. The enemy of your soul and mine is not creative. He uses pride as trap over and over again. Truth is we're all a mess. Drop the pride. Say you are sorry. Don't gloat over other's failings or misfortune. Give grace. Take the gift.
This little one chapter book made so much more sense after I watched the Bible Project's Read Scripture. I am gonna keep saying it until you start....but you really should watch these!
There are many vivid memories I retain from my childhood.
One of them is the mental image I have of my father sitting and shuffling through a stack of memory cards. Whenever he found spare time on his hands, he would grab those moments to memorize, review, or reflect on the Word of God.
Sometimes he recruited his wife or one of his 4 children to listen and confirm that he had memorized them word perfect. And, of course he had.
Recently, a wonderful book came into my hands. It contains 31
verses that every Christian woman should know and love. To top it off, my baby sister "gifted" me with all 31 verses in a spiral bound format.
Now I have begun a process to make them mine one at a time. I have committed to memorizing them in the next year. (That's 1 a week plus 21 weeks for review.)
I don't really need more time to watch tv, check Facebook, or my e-mails. But, more time to hide God's Word in my heart; now that's something I do need.
My first verse is from Proverbs 30: 5 and it goes like this: Every word of God is flawless; it is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Are you interested in joining me in memorizing these life changing words? You can get a copy of the book at the link below. If you send Mindy a message, she'll get you a sticker list of them to post around as a tool to help.
That's the Book: Micah
Hey! You're here! I'm so impressed. This project is deep in the midst of the minor prophets and some readers have apparently decided to tune out for the next ten weeks. I don't blame them. Who wants to start Monday morning with heavy themes of judgment? The prophets are brutal. It's way more fun to talk about forgiveness. I love talking about the scandelous love of Jesus. These posts on prophets are difficult. Reading about destruction and consequences can be a kick to the head.
Amos was a lowly shepherd who God called to preach judgment to the rich and oppressive leaders of Israel and her neighbors. Centuries later God called shepherds to witness the arrival of the salvation of all mankind. One of my favorite things is when I see a parallel in God's story. Yay for the shepherds.
He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth - the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13
Read that verse again. I love it. The high and almighty God reveals his thoughts to us. Crazy wonderful.
For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sings. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil. Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:12-15
Ever notice people seem to want justice for everyone else and grace for themselves? God is pretty clear on this one. Hate Evil. Love Good. Maintain Justice.
Every week as I prep for the That's the Book post I start by reading through the book and highlighting verses that shout out to my heart. This week as I read along I felt sick when I hit this one. It so reminded me of my country, my people.
"You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end." Amos 6:4-7
Luxury but no justice? Violence for the smallest and weakest in our culture. Power and greed abound. Wine by the bowlful and the finest lotion but no grieving over the ruin around. See? Massive kick to the head.
Truth is, sometimes I need a heavy dose of truth to help correct my course. And as I remember to keep it in context of the whole biblical narrative I'm encouraged. The time I'm spending reading the prophets is only increasing my love of God. Grace is only truly appreciated when justice is what is due. And justice is what is due. But grace is what I've been given. How about you?
One of my good friends told me last night she's learned so much from these videos. ME TOO! I love how this one explains that true worship always leaves to love, righteousness and justice. Watch and learn.
Spring Break! Woo! I'm not excited about beaches and parties. I'm thrilled this week we will have no early morning panic over homework or lost socks. We could spend the entire week glued to screens - but I'd rather not. So I made a list of things for my family to try this week. Let me know if you have good ideas to add.
Anything. Draw, paint, color. Take a pile of magazines, cut up the pages into random colors and have a contest with your kids to see who can make the craziest picture. Anything unplugged and creative.
Walk, run, bike, dance. Ohhh. Let's dance. I'm gonna put together a playlist of goofy songs and turn it up loud and make my daughters dance with me.
I bought my husband a new dehydrator for our anniversary. He's in full cooking mode. We now have dried bananas, mangos, apples, turkey jerky and a variety of veggie chips. The veggie chips are guilt free crunchy yumminess made from onion, cabbage, tomato, flax and some other good for you ingredients. He's the cook, not me. BUT on our list this week is to cook something fun. My daughter won a free can of corn from the Safeway Monopoly game (and five!?! free donuts) so we might try to make corn tortillas.
Always. Always. Always. If I have free time a book is my go to plan. After my kid's big monopoly win I talked her into reading 'The Luck of Pokey Bloom" which is a cheesy read I loved at her age. I still had a copy and am making her read it to see what entertainment looked like before the internet. She thinks I'm corny. I'll take it.
Here are a couple more great books if you are looking for a spring break read.
Essentialism: Fantastic, challenging and motivating. If you feel like you are going too many directions all at once read this book. It's a life changer.
A Man Called Ove : Funny, heartwarming and thoughtful. Great spring break read.
Please, Mr. Panda: I'll take a good picture book any day. This one makes me grin.
How about you? Spring break fun. What are your ideas? List a good one and then TURN OFF YOUR PHONE AND GO DO IT.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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