Obadiah 1, Jonah 1-4.

Obadiah 1

  1. By act and attitude Edom had sinned against God and against his people. Trace the details of the sin; then look up 1 Cor. 10:11, 12 and apply Obadiah’s warnings to your own life.
  2. The Prophet claims divine inspiration (verses 1, 4, 8, 18). What do we learn of the Lord’s character from this book? What wonderful truth had yet to be revealed which goes beyond verse 15? Cf. Rom. 8:3, 4.
  3. The prophet’s words speak of searing (verse 18) and possession (verses 17, 19, 20). How do the words ‘holy’ (verse 17) and ‘the kingdom shall be the Lord’s’ (verse 21) change the complexion of the situation? The Christian’s expectation is the same: ‘Thy kingdom come.’ How and why does its spirit differ? Cf. Mark 1:14, 15; Matt. 12:28; Acts 8:12; John 18:36; Rev. 12:10, 11; Matt. 5:3; Rom. 14:17.

Notes

  1. Verse 1. The section ‘We have heard… Rise, and let us go against her for battle’ is in parenthesis. Suggesting the means by which Edom will be brought low.
  2. Verse 3. Several translations’ mg. draw attention to a possible pun here; sela means ‘rock’, but it was also the name of the capital city of Edom, later called Petra.
  3. Verses 5, 6. Thieves or grape-stealers leave something behind; but when God plunders, the pillage is complete.
  4. Verse 7. The principle here is enunciated in verse 15b; this principle of strict justice is the basis of God’s moral law. Cf. Gal. 6:7.
  5. Verses 10-14. Cf. Ps. 137:7; Lam. 2:15, 16.
  6. Verse 16. The ‘cup’ of God’s wrath was a vivid prophetic picture of divine punishment and consequent disaster. Cf. Jer. 25:27, 28; Is. 51:17; Rev. 14:10.

 

Jonah 1 and 2

The key to Jonah’s flight is found in 4:2. He feared the tenderness of God. If he went to Nineveh as commanded, Nineveh might repent, and be spared (cf. Jer.18:8) to become later the destroyer of Israel. If he did not go, God’s judgment would fall upon Nineveh, and Israel would be saved.

  1. ‘But Jonah’ (verse 3); ‘Then the Lord’ (verse 4). Cf. Acts 11:8, 9 (where the context also concerns Gentiles). Of what truth had Jonah lost sight? Cf. 1 Tim. 2:4. How did the Lord retain control of the situation? With 1:7b cf. Prov. 16:33, and notice ‘provided’ in 1:17.
  2. Jonah (like Adam and Eve, Gen. 3:8-10) tried to escape from the presence of the Lord (1:3, 10; cf. 2:4). Why was this impossible? In the light of this passage, look up Ps. 139:23, 24 and apply it to yourself ?
  3. Jonah’s prayer, remarkable for its lack of direct petition, speaks of distress and passes into thanksgiving. What was the fundamental cause of his distress? What caused the transition?

Notes

  1. 1:3. ‘Run away from the Lord’: this amounted to renouncing his vocation, for the prophet stood in the presence of the Lord (cf. 1 Kgs. 17:1).
  2. 1:17. ‘Three days and three nights .. cf. Matt. 12:40. According to Jewish reckoning this mean one full day with the night before and the night after.
  3. 2:7. To the Hebrews, ‘remembering’ could be much more than a bare mental process; it could mean recreating to the imagination the historic deeds of the Lord; the use of the word requires detailed study. With this passage cf. Ps. 77:11, 12; 105:4-6; 143:5.
  4. 2:9. The woe was probably some sort of sacrificial thanks – offering. Vowing is a biblical practice; but the Old Testament counsels against hasty (Prov. 20:25) and empty (Eccl. 5:5) vows.

Jonah 3 and 4

  1. God is unchangeably consistent in his attitude to men. What moral action is necessary to avoid judgment and find mercy? Cf. Joel 2:12-14; Acts 10:34, 35. How did Jesus command the Ninevites’ action? Cf. Matt. 12:41.
  2. Jonah the patriot almost hides Jonah the prophet. How do chapter 4:2b, 4, 10, 11 rebuke his attitude? Contrast the attitude of Jonah that of Jesus the Jew. Cf. Matt. 23:37, 38; Mark 10:45.
  3. What aspects of character of God stand out in this short book?
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