Excerpts from “The Minor Prophets – Volume 1

If My People

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

This sets forth a course of action that is the precise opposite of that found in the text of Obadiah. In Obadiah a nation is found to be exalting itself in pride, and God says that the nation will be brought down.

There are four things God’s people must do.

First we must humble ourselves. …We must begin with humility, which means that we must begin with the confession that we are not adequate for the problems that confront us and we must seek help from God. ..Repentance must begin with the household of God, as the Bible tells us.

Second we are instructed to pray. It seems strange that those who are God’s people must be encouraged, for prayer is work, and as a result, we often let this precious privilege slip from us. To pray means to spend time with God. It means searching our hearts before him.

Third, we are to seek God’s face. What does this mean? … In the context it is far more likely that the verse is speaking of seeking God’s will for us personally. It means looking to see the way his face is pointed and that on which his eyes are set.

Finally we are to turn from our wicked ways to serve him. It is significant that this comes last. If it came first, if we were first told to turn from our wicked ways, undoubtedly the vast majority (even of God’s people) would reply in genuine surprise, “What wicked ways? We are not wicked; we are actually pillars of righteousness in our communities.” However, after having humbled ourselves and having prayed and sought God’s will for our lives, the situation is entirely different. Now we are able to measure unrighteousness and faltering service by his plan for us, and in that light we see what sin is and turn from it.

This is what exalts a nation–the response to God of those who know God. As a result, they humble themselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from their wickedness.

How many responsive and obedient believers must do this? There are times when the voice of a thousand is required for only one to be heard. At other times, as now, the voice of one can count as a thousand. God told Abraham that he would spare the corrupt cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if only ten righteous persons could be found there. Would he not spare our land if even a portion of those many millions who consider themselves Christians would call on him? If we would do that practically–humbling ourselves, praying, seeking God’s will, turning from specific sin–God would doubtless answer from heaven with such blessing that we would experience a genuine healing in our land. Unlike Edom, which God promised to bring down, God would exalt our nation as a channel of blessing for other peoples.

James Montgomery Boice

The Minor Prophets

Obadiah Pages 241-242