Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
September 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM
The Day of Reckoning
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday September 28, 2014
The Day of Reckoning
Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut by slaughter” Obadiah 1:8-9.
Why must the righteous suffer, why does evil exist, and why is injustice so prevalent – these are historic questions that continue to baffle humankind. These questions have been pondered by philosophers, theologians, journalists, essayists, and even lay persons throughout the civilized world. While the different views have some plausible explanations, only one of them, religion, offers both an explanations and tells of the destiny for the evil doers. 
Our sermon today will address this problem of evil and its perpetrators. It has been entitled, The Day of Reckoning, and it is based upon the message found in the Book of Obadiah. The sermon is anchored by a single purpose, namely, to warn of the danger in persecuting the children of God. 
Prior to lifting excerpts from the Book of Obadiah, attention will be focused on the person known as Obadiah. According to Herbert Lockyer, in All the Men of the Bible, Obadiah’s name denotes servant or worshiper of Jehovah. The Bible is silent regarding his family background and early experiences. It does depict Obadiah as a prophet of the Lord (Obadiah 1:1). He was one of the minor prophets. “His book, the briefest of the Old Testament, gives his name, but there the record ends”. 
Obadiah’s books – judging by its reference to the Edomites and the children of Judah – seems to have written during the closing phase of the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. Support for this line will emerge later in the sermon. 
Obadiah’s book as earlier indicated, is the shortest of the Old Testament, but it is long in both history and implications. In addressing the problem of evil, for example, Obadiah refers back to the twin boys of Isaac: Esau and Jacob. Both of the boys did evil in the sight of God; Esau sold his birthright and Lockyer said of this episode. “The wrong act, however, left a black mark upon his future history”. Jacob, in contrast, deceived his ailing father Isaac, was given Esau’s blessing. He, too, committed a wrongful act and suffered a marital deception by being given Lear when he thought that he was marrying Rachael. After working seven additional years, the bride price for a female, Jacob was permitted to Rachael. Soon thereafter he decided to return home and, on the journey, he wrestle with an angel who changed his name to Jacob – the supplanter to Israel. From the lineage of Jacob, now known as Israel would come the twelve tribes of Israel, and later from the Southern tribe would come the Church through Christ Jesus. 
In sum, this brief background on Esau and Jacob is the window through which to view Obadiah’s message to the Edomites – descendants of Esau – and its words of encouragement to Jacob’s descendants – Zion, known today as the Church. 
Essentially, Obadiah’s message to both groups was that A Day of Reckoning was bound to come. That message is the foundation of our sermon today entitled, The Day of Reckoning. 
The word reckoning refers to the time when an account must be settled; it also denotes the reality of facing consequences of actions earlier performed, additionally, reckoning refers to the period when earlier sown deeds are harvested. 
Obadiah’s message, in this regard, was that the Edomites had acted wrongly toward the descendants of Jacob and that they would be judged at the day of the Lord. Although many years separate us from the time of Obadiah, his message continues to be true. Thus, we are admonished to heed the many biblical warning of this eventuality, a few of which are: Ye shall reap what you sow, the evil doers shall not prosper, and do unto other as ye would they do unto you. 
The Edomites were judged by these biblical certainties and so shall the whole of humanity be measured by the same standards. 
To advert the falling into the same desolate stage as the Edomites, it is imperative that we analyze their errors. According to Obadiah’s account, the Edomites were vain, self-centered, unethical, trouble makers, arrogant, cunning, and they were also, scavengers. While knowing their historic kinship to the descendant of Jacob, the Edomites stood, idly by, and watched the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem. Then after the battle was over, the Edomites came onto the scene to collect ruins of the defeat. That action was displeasing to God as noted in Obadiah 1:12-14. 
As a result of the Edomites unrighteous actions, they would come under condemnation on the day of the Lord, or the day of reckoning. At that time, the Edomies would find that: 
- Their wealth shall be plundered 
- Their pride shall be humbled 
- Their wisdom shall be dissipated 
- Their spiteful behavior against Israel shall be avenged 
During that day of reckoning, mount Zion – or the Church – shall be delivered; holiness shall prevail therein; the house of Jacob shall receive its possessions and the house of Esau shall be stubble – short stumps of grains left after the harvest; the stubble stumps are used as fuel for fire. 
Although the Edomites were ungodly, God – being gracious and merciful – would allow them an opportunity to repent – a message that Jesus would later commission his disciples to preach – and the life – not their land – would be spared. Is not this the New Testament message – if a person is in Christ Jesus he is a new creature… 
In closing, where do we stand respect to the Lord’s people? Are we included among them (as adopted descendants of Jacob) or are we indifferent to and persecutors of the Lord’s people (as descendants of Esau). If we are as the Jacobites, we have no worry about being passed by; in contrast, if we are as the Edomites, our destiny is that of being stubble and. Thereby, being passed by. The choice is ours!
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