Destination: Joel; Amos; Obadiah
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Get ready for flight forty over the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, our tour guide, Pastor Skip Heitzig, will take us soaring over Joel, Amos, and Obadiah. In these three books, we take a look at the strong warnings that God gives His people against greed, injustice, false worship, and self-righteousness. We'll see God's use of these ordinary men to give extraordinary messages; we'll witness His patience, and at the end, we'll see how He stands ready to forgive and restore all who turn away from their sin. The key chapters to review are Joel 1-3, Amos 1, 3 and 7, and Obadiah 1.
DESTINATION: Joel 1-3
Joel sees the massive locust plague and severe drought devastating
Judah as a harbinger of the "great and dreadful day of the Lord" (2:31).
Confronted with this crisis, he calls on everyone to repent. He describes
the locusts as the Lord's army and sees in their coming a reminder that
the Day of the Lord is near. He does not voice the popular notion that
the Day will be one of judgment on the nations but deliverance and
blessing for lsrael. lnstead-with lsaiah (2:10-21), Jeremiah (4:5-9),
Amos (5:18-20) and Zephaniah (1 :7-18) - he describes the Day as one
of punishment of unfaithfullsrael as well. Restoration and blessing will
come only after judgment and repentance.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
835 - 796 Be
The Reign of Joash
I. The present chastisement and it removal: 1:1-2:27
- Introduction: 1:1-3
- Desolation by locusts: 1:4-13
- Desolation by starvation and drought: 1: 14-20
- The victorious invading host from the north, Assyria: 2: 1-11
- Repentance the only escape from invasion: 2: 12-17
- Deliverance promised if Israel repents: 2: 18-27
II. The promise of the Spirit: 2:28-29
III. The future deliverance in the coming Day of the Lord: 2:30-3:21
- The signs preceding the Day of the Lord: 2:30-32
- The restoration of lsrael: 3: 1
- Judgment of Gentile nations: 3:2-17
- Final restoration: full blessing: 3:18-21
- Like a destroying army of locusts, God's punishment for sin is overwhelming, dreadful, and unavoidable. When it comes, there will be no food, no water, no protection, and no escape. The day for settling accounts with God for how we have lived is fast approaching.
- God stood ready to forgive and restore all those who would come to him and turn away from sin. God wanted to shower his people with his love and restore them to a proper relationship with him.
Promise of the Holy Spirit
- Joel predicts the time when god will pour out his Holy Spirit on all people. It will be the beginning of new and fresh worship of God by those who believe in him, as well as the beginning of judgment on all who reject him.
PLACES OF lNTEREST:
- Aseaport and commercial center on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea (in general history known as a Phoenician city). ln Old Testament times it was a city-state with its own king. From Tyre, ships went all over the Mediterranean world to trade and establish colonies. One of the chief products of Tyre was a dye known as Tyrian purple, made from shellfish.
- Acity on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, about 25 miles north of Tyre, with which it is often named in both the Old and New Testaments. Sidon was an old city before the time of the lsraelites. Like Tyre, it was a commercial city and port for fleets of trading ships that went to all parts of the world of that time. It reached the height of its prosperity about the time of Solomon. Today the city is called. Saida.
- Aregion in the southwest of ancient Palestine, comprising a coastal strip along the Mediterranean and a portion of southern Canaan. The chief cities of Philistia were Gaza, Ashqelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath; strategically located on the great commercial route from Egypt to Syria, they formed a confederacy.
PEOPLE OF lNTEREST:
- Aprophet of the Southern Kingdom of Judah; his name means "Jehovah is God." Nothing is known of him, apart from what is in the book.
The people of Judah
- Joel's message was of impending judgment, along with a call for repentance. He assured the people of the forgiveness of God, followed by the coming of the Holy Spirit.
DESTINATION: Amos 1-9
The name Amos comes form the Hebrew word meaning "to lift a burden, carry." His name means "burden" or "burden-bearer." He lived in Judah but was given the burden of carrying a message of warning to the Northern Kingdom of Israel against greed, injustice, false worship, and self-righteousness.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
c. 767-753 B.C.
Ministry of Amos
c. 790-739 B.C.
Uzziah, King of Judah
c. 793-753 B.C.
Jeroboam, son of Joash, King of Israel
"Prepare to meet your God, O Israel." The divine message given to Amos was primarily one of judgment, although it ends with words of hope. First, Amos records God's words against the Gentile nations surrounding Israel and Judah. Second, Amos is asked to deliver God's words of judgment against Israel. And third, God gives Amos visions of how He will mete out His judgment on the people. Yet, in a final word from the Lord, a promise of hope to the faithful remnant is given.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
Tekoa (or Tekoah)
- Means "pitching of tents, fastening down." It was a Biblical town of Judah, about 12 miles south of Jerusalem, and visible from the city. This was also the birthplace of the prophet Amos (Amos 1:1).
Six surrounding regions of judgment
- Damascus, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab.
- The Southern Kingdom (2 tribes) of the divided nation of Israel.
- The Northern Kingdom (10 tribes) of the divided nation of Israel.
- Southern-most city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
- A holy place of sacrifice and remembrance, on the west bank of the Jordan where the Israelites first camped after crossing over into the promised land. "The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.' Therefore the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day" (Joshua 5:9).
PEOPLE OF INTEREST:
- Amos was a herdsman and a tender of sycamore fruit from the village of Tekoa, which was located near Bethlehem, about ten miles south of Jerusalem. Although he was a farmer and rancher, he was very familiar with the Word of God. Amos should not be confused with Amoz, the father of Isaiah. Amos was a contemporary of Isaiah, Micah and Hosea.
Uzziah of Judah
- Also known as Azariah; king for 52 years over Judah. He was one of the sons of Amaziah whom the people appointed to replace his father. He is the one the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.
- The son of Nebat, "an Ephrathite." He was the son of a widow of Zereda, and while still young was promoted by Solomon to be chief superintendent of forced laborers. On the death of Solomon, the ten tribes revolted and invited him to become their first king; he reigned over them for 22 years. He rebuilt and fortified Shechem as the capital of his kingdom, and erected at Dan and Bethel (the two extremities of his kingdom) "golden calves," which he set up as symbols of God. Therefore, the people would go to either place to bring their offerings to the shrines he had erected instead of at Jerusalem.
- Priest at Bethel, loyal to Jeroboam. Likely present when Amos prophesied against Jeroboam. He did not have a pleasant ending, either!
- A fruit normally eaten by the poor. It must be pierced with a knife and mashed to make it edible. Besides shepherding, this was Amos's job—to pick, cut and sell the fruit in the marketplace, leaving him with stained hands.
- A mountain in Lower Galilee near Tiberias in Israel that has split in two after an earthquake (unspecified date). Mt. Arbel is also the term for one half of the split mountain; the other half's name is Mt. Nitai (a possible result of the earthquake mentioned).
- Also referred to in Zechariah 14:5 as "the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah." Josephus, the Jewish historian, believed that the earthquake happened at the same time as Uzziah's seizure of the role of High Priest and his subsequent bout with leprosy.
Visions of God's judgment
- Devouring locusts, destruction by fire, a plumb line, and a basket of summer fruit.
Christ as seen in Amos
- Amos presents Christ as our "burden bearer," the One who will rebuild David's dynasty, and as the one who will restore His people.
DESTINATION: Obadiah 1
Obadiah is fourth in the listing of the Old Testament Minor Prophets,
and the shortest. Chronologically, it was possibly the earliest of the
prophetic writings, written c. 840 B.C., though some commentators
place the writing in the 6th century B.C. Obadiah means "worshipper
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
c. 853-841 B.C. Most agree this is the likely timeframe of Obadiah
930 B.C. Division of the Kingdom of Israel
c. 875-797 B.C. Ministries of Elijah and Elisha
c. 825-796 B.C. Joel's ministry in Judah
c. 760-740 B.C. Amos's ministry in Israel
c. 753-715 B.C. Hosea's ministry in Israel
722 B.C. Exile of Israel
586 B.C. Fall of Jerusalem
Obadiah's vision from the Lord was directed to Edom, also known as Esau (after
the brother of Jacob, son of Isaac). It was given as a warning against pride
and retaliation against the Lord's chosen people, and that ultimately possessions
and position will mean nothing in the "day of the Lord."
PLACES OF INTEREST:
Mount of Esau
– This is modern day Petra; leading into the dwelling place
of Esau, one must travel through a narrow gorge that leads to a tiny winding
valley, eventually leading to walls with hundreds of tombs and dwellings
carved in the face of them. From there, the Edomites looked down on the
world around them. This was the "pride of thy heart" and "his hidden
treasures," referred to in verses 3 and 4.
– Also Jerusalem. The place from which the Lord established
His earthly Kingdom and restored the inheritance of His people.
House of Jacob
- All of the nation of Israel.
- Meaning "lowland." It is a geographical term for the lowlands
or low hilly country between the coastal plain of Israel and the higher
central mountains; the region is about 50 mi (80 km) north to south
and about 10 mi (16 km) wide west to east. The sites of many ancient cities
named in the Shephelah have been identified. They all lie within the strip of
hill country that runs along the western base of the mountains of Judah,
terminating in the north at the Valley of Aijalon.
PEOPLE OF INTEREST:
– The name Obadiah in Hebrew means "servant of the Lord." A dozen
or so individuals in the Old Testament have this name, none of whom may be
safely identified with the author of this book. In reality we know very little about
this prophet with regard to his exact identity or historical circumstances. However,
of worthy note is the Obadiah in 1 Kings 18. As a prophet, he had a significant
role in hiding and saving the lives of 100 prophets from the murderous King
Ahab and Jezebel.
– Also known as Esau. Twin brother of Jacob (Israel), sons of Isaac &
Rebekah. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of porridge, and
Jacob stole the ancestral blessing by deception, setting the stage for two
nations in constant opposition. ‘Edom' refused to let the Israelites pass
through its mountains to get to Canaan. David fought and won a battle
against the Edomites when Saul first became king and they became
servants to David (2 Samuel 8:14). When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed
Jerusalem in 586 B.C., Edom was a willing ally and stood by in derision as
the people of Judah were plundered and exiled.
They of the South (Negev)
– The people of Israel who lived in the southern
part of the Kingdom. To them it was prophesied that they would inherit
and live in the Mount of Esau (Petra).
– One of the chiefs of the sons of Esau (Genesis 36:15).
The name of an Edomite clan, and the name of the region where
they lived (Gen 36:11, 15, 34); in Jeremiah 49:7, 20 it is used
poetically for all of Edom. The inhabitants of Teman seem to have
been famous for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7; Obadiah 1:8). Eliphaz
the Temanite was chief of the comforters of Job (Job 2:11).
They of the Lowland (foothills)
– Also known as Shephelah, it is the
western portion of the land of Israel where the Philistines – lifelong
enemies of Israel – would be destroyed. The people of Israel
would inherit their land all the way to the mountains of Ephraim
situated NE of Jerusalem and Samaria, which represents the central
portion of Palestine.
Benjamin 'shall possess' Gilead
- Benjamin was the youngest son of
Jacob, and the smallest of the tribes of Egypt. The tribe of Benjamin
was famous for its archers (1 Samuel 20:20, 36; 2 Samuel 1:22;
1 Chronicles 8:40; 12:2) and slingers (Judges 20:6). Though the tribe
was small, Israel's first king, Saul, was from Benjamin.
Gilead was the mountainous region representing all the region east
of the Jordan River situated in the modern day nation of Jordan.
It comprised the possessions of the tribes of Gad and Reuben and the
south part of Manasseh. Known for its production and exportation of
aromatic spices and gums. The old Negro Spiritual "There is a Balm in
Gilead" speaks to the healing power of Christ Jesus as the balm "to
make the wounded whole" and "to heal the sin-sick soul."
Field of Samaria
– Jerome records in his commentary on Obadiah that
Samaria was the burial place of Elisha, Obadiah, and John the Baptist.
- A Phoenician city on the Mediterranean coast between
Sidon and Tyre in modern day Lebanon. It was noted by Obadiah as
the northernmost boundary of Israel. This is the site where Elijah
multiplied the meal and oil of the widow of Zarephath (Sarepta) and
raised her son from the dead.
– Mentioned only once in the Bible by Obadiah. The exact
location is unknown. However, after the second century it was
identified with the Iberian Peninsula. The descendants of the Iberian
Jews are still called Sephardim, and Sepharad is the modern Hebrew
for Spain. Popularly taken to mean all those who are scattered abroad
in all the boundaries and regions of the earth.