The Old Testament prophet, Obadiah, said, “On Mount Zion will be deliverance.” When I was a kid, I lived near a place called Mt. Zion. I assumed at the time, that it was the only Mt. Zion in the world. It was at the top of a hill (imagine that) and was the site of Mt. Zion Church and Mt. Zion Cemetery. Some of my relatives are buried there.
As I entered into adolescence and adulthood (as I’m sure you’ve guessed), I began to run across dozens (maybe hundreds) of Mt. Zion’s. They seemed to be everywhere…especially churches. You’ve seen some. They have names like Mt. Zion Church, Mt. Zion Chapel, and Mt. Zion Bible Fellowship.
It wasn’t until I was almost sixty that I had the privilege of standing on the real Mt. Zion–the first one. On that holy hill, my life was changed. It changed when Jesus died upon it two thousand years ago.
“My original Mt. Zion was in Elk County, PA–one of the most beautiful places on earth.”
I remember feeling as a young lad that Mt. Zion was a special place. Little did I realize then how special it truly was. I didn’t realize how special the real Mt. Zion would become to me a few years later.
Like most things, however, Mt. Zion has its darker side. Obadiah, like many of the Old Testament Prophets, didn’t have a lot of good things to say. That’s probably because the prophecies were about (and geared toward) people who weren’t doing a lot of good things.
“None of us like to be negative.”
None of us like to be negative. (Well, I guess some of us do, but contrary to popular opinion, I’m not one of them.) Yet, it’s the negativity in Scripture that sets up the positive message of salvation.
Obadiah is one of the shorter books in the Bible. It’s so short, it’s not divided into chapters as most of them. It consists of twenty-one verses.
The message of Obadiah is a call to arms. The call is against a little place named Edom. Apparently that’s where Obadiah called home. Because of that little fact, he knew it well, and he knew it needed to go down.
It’s a tough thing to pronounce judgment against your own. Maybe that’s why his writing is so short. It could have easily gotten lost among the volumes included in Scripture. In fact, it is indeed overlooked much of the time.
Obadiah’s call for warlike deliverance on Mt. Zion must have been hard for him to deliver. It’s no small thing to postulate, predict, or prophesy. And yet he did.
There are times in the church when we are faced with the same dilemma–times when we sense the need to come against our own. These days there are in-church battles over abortion, homosexuality, and a variety of other major topics.
It’s not easy to take a stand against your own. I would simply suggest we do what the Presbyterian brethren like to say—do it “decently and in order.”