Also we cannot resist the call of God. God is sovereign and has chosen his elect before the worlds existence. Just look at Paul. Would we have the Gospel if not for Paul? Is the sovereignty of God not thoroughly shown in the life of Paul?
On the contrary, it is written (Hosea 7:13): “Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.”
Wasn’t the serpent in the Garden of Eden? God always allowed free will, which allows the devil. Evil exists in God’s world bc it is absence of Him.
Sometimes God himself is the source of evil.
Amos 3:6 – Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, with only 21 verses. The prophet may not have actually been named Obadiah. That word means “Servant of God” and in Arabic the same title is Abdullah. A tradition in the Talmud is that Obadiah was a convert to Judaism from the Edomites, so it is poignant that he chose to direct his invective against his native people.
The Edomites were the descendants of Esau who were the Jews’ first cousins, sharing Isaac for a forefather, just as Arabs are Jews’ second cousins because they share Abraham for a forefather.
The Edomites were a tiny nation that lived along the cliffs and mountaintops of the arid land south of the Dead Sea, all the way to the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea. There was very little in the way of arable land, so the Edomites made their living supporting (and controlling) the main caravan route between Egypt and Babylon that passed through their whole land.
Throughout most of the history of Judah, Edom was controlled absolutely from Jerusalem as a vassal state, much like the way Syria controls Lebanon today.
Among the heathen great powers Edom was held of no account. Obadiah said that the high elevation of their dwelling place in the mountains of Seir had gone to their head a little bit, and they have puffed themselves up in pride.
“Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.”
In 597 BCE Nebuchadnezzar II sacked Jerusalem, carted away the King of Judea and installed a puppet King. The Edomites helped Nebbie loot the city, and that is why Obadiah, writing this prophesy around 590 BCE, is so bitter.
“In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.”
Objectively, it is difficult to blame Edom for joining in the fun a little bit after centuries of rule by Judah. Still, Obadiah says they should have remembered that blood is thicker than water.
“Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity.”
Never mind that other prophets were saying that the sack of Jerusalem was God punishing Judah for disobedience. Edom should not have helped God punish Judah, and for doing that, Obadiah said God will wipe out the house of Esau forever, and not even a remnant would remain.
Unfortunately he didn’t tell Amos, who said in Amos 9:12 that a remnant of Edom would remain to be possessed by the Messiah, along with all the heathens. Edomites were too closely related to Judah to be called heathens even if Obadiah was angry with them.
Obadiah said the Edomites’ land would be possessed by Egypt and they would cease to exist as a people. But the Day of the Lord was at hand for all nations, and someday the Jews would return from their exile and possess the land of Edom.
“But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.”
Obadiah’s prediction that the Jews would possess Edom came partly true. The western half of Edom is the Negev desert all the way to Eilat, all part of modern Israel. The eastern half is possessed by the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan.
Jonah is a short story, completely fictional, which was written by a “liberal” during a time following the Babylonian Exile when proto-neocons were promoting Jewish exceptionalism. The moral of the story is that God’s forgiveness is available to everyone, not just the people of your own little group.
This moral is, of course, lost on evangelicals, who prefer to focus on the whale part, and insist it really happened exactly as written as evidence of God’s power to create miracles, and was not merely a plot device to keep the story moving along.
The plot of Jonah is simple.
- God tells Jonah to go to the Assyrian city of Nineveh and preach repentance, for the end is nigh.
- Jonah gets on a ship to obey, but soon God realizes he’s really just making for a port in the Med rather than Nineveh so so he assails the ship with a storm.
- Jonah admits to the ship’s captain that he offended his God, so they toss him into Davey Jones’ locker and immediately the storm abates.
- A giant whale comes along, swallows Jonah, and steams all the way around Cape Horn, up the Persian Gulf, up the Shaat-al-Arab between Iraq and Iran, and spits him out on the bank of the Tigris nigh to Nineveh after only three days.
- Now God tells Jonah again, go and preach repentance unto the inhabitants of the city, or he’s gonna nuke it in forty days.
- Jonah complies this time, and to his great surprise the people of the city put on sackcloth and pour ashes on their heads and repent of their wickedness just like Jonah told them to do.
- That outcome pisses Jonah off exceedingly, because he was really there just to see the divine fireworks.
So Jonah goes off in a huff and pouts. Then God comes to him and says:
JONAH 4:11: “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”
This is one of the rare instances in the Bible where God is being funny, and it turns out he has a sarcastic wit. God is saying, in essence, “Even if you hold the lives of more than a hundred thousand little children as nought, think of all the cattle that would be lost!”
The city of Ninevah, now modern-day Mosul in Iraq, was the capital of the same Assyrian Empire that piece-parted out ten tribes of the children of Israel and made them go down the memory hole. Now it was Ninevah’s turn and the prophet Nahum could barely conceal his glee as he ran through the litany of all the bad shit that was about to befall the city. It was everything Jonah wanted to say, only better. Or worse, if you were a Ninevahite.
Stripped down to basics, it runs like this:
Our God is one who takes revenge, and now he is furious. God will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserves wrath for his enemies. He will not acquit the wicked. God hurls the whirlwind and in the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry. He dries up all the rivers. The mountains quake at him, the hills melt, and the earth is burned in his presence, along with all those dwell in it. Who can stand before his indignation? His fury pours out like fire, and the rocks of the mountains are thrown down by him. With an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of Ninevah, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. He will make an utter end: affliction from that city shall not rise up the second time. He that dashes to pieces shall come upon you! The gates of the rivers shall be opened and the palace shall be dissolved. Woe to the bloody city! Now it is all full of lies and robbery. All shall flee from there and say Nineveh is laid waste. The fire shall devour it, the sword shall cut it off. The nobles of the city shall dwell in the dust and the people shall be scattered into the mountains. There is no healing of this bruise, for the wickedness of the city oppressed all without cease.