Our reading today covers the Books of Obadiah, Jonah, Micah and Nahum. As we read these Scriptures, God’s heart for the Gentiles is very evident. In the short Book of Obadiah, the prophet exclusively addresses the people of Edom. Even though it is a message of warning, the LORD cares about the Edoms enough to send them a prophet.
Israel is in a special covenant relationship with the LORD, but that does not mean that the Edomites do not have the capacity to respond to God’s overtures to them, nor does it mean that the Edomites are not accountable to the LORD. In the Book of Obadiah, the LORD lets the Edomites know His displeasure at how much they enjoyed the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Hebrews. Even though this exile was God’s judgment of His own people, it does not mean that other nations can show this kind of disrespect for Israel.
One is reminded of God’s promise to Abraham when He first called him: “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you” (Gen. 12:3). This promise seems to be in play even when the LORD is in the midst of judging His people.
In the Book of Jonah, the Lord sends a reluctant Hebrew prophet to preach against the Assyrians in Nineveh. Jonah hates the vicious Assyrians. He is motivated more by this hate than fearing physical harm which causes him to flee in the opposite direction from Nineveh. In the Book, Jonah admits that it is his fear that the LORD in His compassion will grant the Assyrians forgiveness at their repentance. The LORD admonishes Jonah for his selfishness with these words: ” But Nineveh has more than a 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?'”(Jonah 4:11). The Old Testament prophets reveal God’s great compassionate heart, not only with His covenant people, but for all peoples. Let us also open our hearts to the different people groups that the LORD has brought to our country. Let us build friendships with them, and pray for them and seek to love them into the kingdom of God. This the good news of Jesus Christ. Pastor John