by 鍾卓權牧師 (Rev. Bernie Chung)
從那時起延續了約一千多年，在《舊約聖經》中最短的一卷《俄巴底亞書》。俄巴底亞書成書時間大約是在主前840-845 年間。此時以色列人是處於一個分裂的王國：以色列位於應許之地的北方，猶大位於南部。 以東民族與猶大的南部邊界相鄰。俄巴底亞在南國猶大出生，由於以東對以色列國的殘酷攻擊，作為神的發言人他直言指責以東，在第三節說他們是「狂傲自欺」。這裡的「狂傲自欺」不僅僅是自我為是，更是自我滿足。生活於現今的社會，同樣有越來越多的人覺得不再需要上帝。這是我們所見有越來越少的人渴望福音，由於「狂傲自欺」是促成他們覺得並不需要福音的主要原因之一，在教會中也見到越來越多的人對 神話語失去了飢渴慕義的心。
治理國家也是如此，政府順從群眾的意念立法，以不成熟的民意為導向，就成為社會的新道德和國家法律的標準。雖然俄巴底亞預言的主題是以東，同時，他也是向抵擋 神的「萬國」宣告譴責的話，說明耶和華降罰的日子(第15 節)會導致痛苦的懲罰和義人的救贖，這也是 神向自己的百姓宣講祂的心意，他們在敵人之下遭受嚴厲的迫害，卻是從審判中得到救贖、如果他們願意回轉，定睛在耶和華的拯救，就能夠借著管教得到重建和上帝和好的關係。雖然俄巴底亞書寫於將近3000 年之前，但他所說的盼望和重建同樣也可在我們當中實現，俄巴底亞的宣告可應用在撕裂中的美國和香港社會，也可以實現在上帝所愛的每一個人和我們的教會。
We may still recall the fights and disputes we had with our siblings when we were young. Occasionally the hurt feelings rooted deep in our hearts may surface even when we are adults. Nevertheless, the bond of brotherhood helps us endure. However, this is not the case between the two brothers: Jacob and Esau, the sons of Abraham, as recorded in the Old Testament. The Bible specifically mentions that Esau went home with dizziness after a day of hunting. He gave up his title of “eldest son” to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of red bean soup to quench his thirst. Later Jacob used trickery to deceive his father Isaac and receive the blessing from him as the eldest son. Jacob’s deceptions intensified the resentment between the two brothers. The Bible records that the descendants of Jacob became the kingdom of Israel, and the descendants of Esau became the nation of Edom.
A thousand years have passed when Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, appeared around 840-845 BC. Near that time the Israelites were in a divided kingdom—Israel in the north of the Promised Land and kingdom of Judah in the south. The Edomites were adjacent to the southern border of Judah. Obadiah was born in Judah, the Southern Kingdom. As a spokesman for God, he admonished the Edomites for attacking Judah mercilessly and declared to them “the pride of your heart deceived you” in the third verse of the book of Obadiah. “The pride of the heart” points not only to self-righteousness, but also to self-satisfaction. In today's society, more and more people feel that they no longer need God and their eagerness for the gospel has ebbed. Likewise, their thirst and hunger for the words of God have subsided. The same is true for the governance of countries in the world. Government policies of many nations are often aligned with popular opinions of their citizens that are immature or necessitated by national pride and arrogance. What are popular become their new morals and what is convenient guides the laws of their land.
Although Obadiah’s prophecy was focused towards the Edomites, Obadiah also condemned the “wars of nations" against God and warned that the Day of the Lord will bring painful punishment while the righteous will be redeemed. God revealed His will to his people. In spite of severe persecutions and sufferings at the hands of their enemies, God’s redemption will come if God’s people remain righteous and accept God’s salvation. Their relationship with God will be restored and reconciled. Although the book of Obadiah was written nearly 3,000 years ago, the hope of redemption and reconciliation does apply to us today. Obadiah’s declaration is appropriate for the decimated U.S. and Hong Kong societies currently. His declaration also rings true for our church and everyone whom God loves.