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God’s Word for You

Obadiah 4

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, February 17, 2018

4 Though you soar like the eagle,
  and though your nest is set among the stars,
  from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD.

In verse 3, God warned Edom that their high fortresses in the inaccessible cliffs would not protect them from the hand of the Lord. Now in verse 4, he extends this warning out to the absurd extreme: Even if they could climb the winds as high as the eagle, or even higher, and build themselves a nest like the eagle does where no man could ever climb, they will not be safe. In fact, God continues, Edom might even hope to build themselves a nest “set among the stars,” but even there, where no man has gone before, they would not be safe from God’s holy judgment or the End of the World. This answers Edom’s arrogance, but it also answers an unasked question about man’s quest for the exploration of space.

There is a question that is often asked today, because of the volume of science fiction that is written for novels, TV, movies and comic books: What if we discover a new race or species of living beings from another world? Would they fall under the law of God? Would the gospel be theirs, too? The pastors to whom I asked this question as a boy all responded the same way, with more or less certainty: “We certainly won’t / I don’t think we will find such a race.” But if we did, then the answer would have to be: Of course, the law of God applies to them, and of course, the gospel of Christ offers forgiveness to them. The God who made the universe is the God of all, not just some (Genesis 1:16-18; Isaiah 14:13-15).

But there’s a deeper question. Should we be finding a way to leave our world because of its pollution, overcrowding, increasing danger, etc., to colonize other worlds? The answer, as in so many questions that do not come directly from God’s commands and prohibitions, is in the motive of man’s heart. If we wish to explore the cosmos to learn more about it, that gives glory to God. If we wish to colonize other planets and use them for whatever purposes are needed, that can give God glory, too. But if we only want to abandon what we have here because it’s become run down and ruined, then we need to remember God’s command to Adam and Eve when he instituted marriage, the Second Estate of man: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). God put Adam “in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). The world is ours to take care of, not to abandon. Like a wounded limb, it doesn’t need to be discarded. It needs to be healed. Like God’s own children, our world “will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). The mountains, oceans and fields were subjected to frustration by man’s sin (Romans 8:20), and we have a responsibility to take care of them, heal them if we can, and use them wisely according to the will of God.

God gave us this passage to check our pride and to let us know: Edom could not escape his wrath, and neither can we. Our science, our technology, our genius, is nothing before God, nothing at all. But Jesus Christ is everything. Trust in Jesus, serve God, and live under his will.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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