Near the end of the Old Testament, we read the prophecies of Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah. Read together, these three Old Testament Prophets challenge us to think about our national enemies as we once again commemorate the tragedy of 2001 that will forever be called “9-11.”
Amos, like all other prophets, prophesied of the coming judgment against Israel and Judah. Amos’ message of judgment starts against the enemies of Israel and gets increasingly tighter until the message “zeroes” in on Israel. The significance of this progression is that judgment is certain. The opportunity for repentance has passed. However, there is the hint that Israel could have avoided judgment if they would have heeded God’s seriousness toward sin. Likewise, the message for America today is “We must learn from the mistakes of our enemies.”
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. We know very little about Obadiah or the exact perspective from which he wrote. We do understand that his prophecy targeted Edom—an enemy of Israel.
Obadiah’s preaching was likely a message to encourage Israel during the days of exile or immediately following exile. His preaching would have pointed to God’s judgment against Israel’s enemies. As we commemorate the anniversary of September 11, we should continue to find hope in God to deal justly and rightly with our enemies. So, here is the lesson: “We must trust God with our enemies.”
The book of Jonah contains the account of Jonah’s call to preach to Ninevah, his refusal to go, his preaching to Ninevah, and the result. The whole reason that Jonah seems to run from God is that he knows that God will relent if the people repent. Jonah seems to be enamored with the thought of these people facing the judgment of God. Out of this story, we see God’s great love for mankind. There is no one God does not love and will not offer salvation. Let us pray that we catch God’s vision in this regard. Again, in light of the events of September 11, are we praying that God might save those who are our enemies? Or, would we be glad to see them face the wrath of God? If we cannot pray for their salvation, we have not begun to understand the great love of God. What’s the lesson? As we think about the horrible events of 9/11, “We must pray for the salvation of our enemies.”