House of Fire

            For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been. But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the LORD has spoken.
Obadiah 15–18

House of Fire
The house of Jacob shall be a fire. Fires do two things: they consume, and they purify. This fire is the powerful Word of God that dwells with his people. Obadiah reminds us of the most important function of the Law. The Law of God condemns us and teaches us that we cannot save ourselves. The Gospel resurrects and makes new. God delights to dwell with his people, but his work among them is strong and powerful. It is a reversal of things expected and powerful enough to destroy and make alive again. Thus, God dwells with Jacob and the whole people of God. But when he purifies the people of Jacob, he does so with his Law. He gives the Law to you and me that we would have our sins exposed and drawn out of us. This Law crushes and destroys. Our God, this Jesus, takes our sin and death from us, and gives us his life and salvation in their place. In our Baptism we are grafted into this purifying and powerful fire. We are made one with the Lord Jesus and given eternal life in him. In the preaching of his Word and in the celebration of the sacraments we are restored with all of Jacob. Thanks be to God for his gifts of mercy and grace.
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