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God’s Word for You

Obadiah 6 The ruin of hell

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, March 3, 2018

6 But how Esauª will be plundered,
  his hidden treasures pillaged!

ª Vs. 6 Esau. Edom and Esau were the same person (Genesis 25:29-30), and the land of Edom is sometimes referred to as Esau in the Bible. Cp. Jeremiah 49:8,10.

In verse 5, God addressed the people of Edom directly, warning how the pillagers would leave nothing left. Now he speaks about the people of Edom in the third person, as if the Lord is walking through the dust and ruin where Edom used to be, and now there’s nothing left at all.

The spiritual side of having everything taken away is being condemned to eternity in the agony of hell. The reason for damnation is man’s guilt: “‘Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty” (Jeremiah 2:19).

The agonies of hell are described in different ways:

Hell is judgment (Mark 16;16; Romans 1:32))
Hell is destruction (Matthew 7:13)
Hell is ruin (1 Thessalonians 5:3; 1 Timothy 6:9)
Hell is loss; separation from God (Psalm 1:5; 5:5)
Hell is punishment, agony, and fire (Jude 7; Matthew 18:8)

The agonies prefigured here in Obadiah 6 are especially the agonies of destruction, ruin, and loss. Although the Apocryphal books are not to be taken as the holy word of God, they were written as applications of the Bible’s truths for the people of their time, and they are infinitely more valuable, useful and wholesome than the novels on our shelves today. For example, the application of hell as ruin is described in the book of Tobit this way: “In pride there is ruin and great confusion. In idleness there is loss and great want” (Tobit 4:13). The condemned are excluded from the enjoyment of everything good that we who trust in Christ will have in heaven. In Sirach, this is depicted by a man being damned by the very wisdom that he has turned from: “If he goes astray she (Wisdom) will forsake him, and hand him over to his ruin” (Sirach 4:19).

Turning back to the Scriptures, Paul says, “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 2:9). And God said to his prophet: “There is no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22).

For the damned, this is hopelessness; a ruin that cannot be escaped. For Edom, this is a warning, as severe as the Lord can bring. If they do not turn back now and put their trust in the Lord, their bodies and souls will follow their possessions and nation. But that is the grace of God at work. He reaches out to us during our brief time in this life, our time of grace, to offer us peace and forgiveness. He offers to rescue us from the fall of man. In this way, God is like a man in a lifeboat, rowing through the flotsam of a shipwreck. He offers his hand to anyone who will trust him, but there are some who turn away. Yet he keeps rowing to us, and he keeps offering his hand. He is your Savior, and when he has you it would be foolish to kick away from him. Trust in him, and he will never let go.

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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