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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Obadiah: Getting What You Gave Others

"As you have done, the same will be done to you." It's amazing just imagining that the same passage I am now reading in the book of Obadia, in this year 2011, was also the very same passage Jesus read about 2000 years ago. It warns about getting what you gave others. 

Now, you link that with the truth that you cannot give what you don't have, and what do you get? This fascinating truth--you get what you deserve. Oh yeah, you always get what you deserve. What people give you is what you've given them--which most times you've forgotten all about. That's why the oft asked question: "What did I do to deserve this?"

But Christ gave love to all and yet got the death penalty in return. How do we explain that? Well, even Jesus got what he deserved. You see, blessed are those who are persecuted for God's righteousness. And this is where the radicalism is. Often, when you have a pure heart after God, and you give that to others, you get what you deserve--and what you deserve often comes in an undesirable form. Thus, the oft asked question--"What did I do to deserve this?"

What did you do to deserve persecution? Your deep devotion to God. You should have your spiritual eyes open to identify what is reward and what is punishment. Don't look now, but many times the wicked don't seem to be punished...and you are. The wicked often even get blessed.

Here's a shocker: The wicked even sleep in a bed of dollar bills! Why? Because they deserve what they get. At times they oppress workers and do not give them their right pay, and yet they get blessed with a lot of money. Why? Because they deserve what they get.

You cannot give what you do not have. What do they have? Lots of money. But they don'y give money to those who deserve it, they don't pay their laborers correctly and are rewarded for it.

Confused?

Well, God's justice doesn't always work the way we want it to. Because many times we fail to see what it really is. We think that having lots of money is favor. We fail to see the bible's other view of it--that a lot of money can be a curse. Remember how Jesus put it? The rich will find it impossible to enter heaven.

Sometimes, God presents His justice in plain ways. The Edomites got what they deserved in a negative sense. They gave the Israelites a bad time, so God was about to give them their own bad time, too. It was an elementary way how His justice was dispensed. God ensures that the principle always works. But remember that the form the principle comes in is not always according to how we interpret justice. It's not always that simple. Sometimes God intentionally complicates things to confuse the proud and the wicked--so don't get caught with them being confounded by it all. Many times, we get something we see as bad in return for doing something good. Then we see others rewarded notwithstanding their wickedness.

Wisdom, my friend, wisdom. See everything in God's eyes.

It's also amazing how Jesus read this passage and got something extraordinarily radical from it--he came up with a more radical principle. He said, "Do to people as you would like people to do to you." If you follow his command, you give what you deserve to get the same in return even if you do not do so at the moment, at least not just yet. In men's eyes, Jesus did not seem to get what his righteousness deserved--but he really did--though he did not at the moment. But really, he did. 

You still with me?

Anyway, you cannot give what you do not have. If you do not have wicked thoughts and intents in you for others, then you'd likewise not get them from others, though for a little while, you may seem to. But not really.

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