“For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.”
I’m just going to stop there. This verse actually goes on, but I just want us to soak in what we just heard and pray according to it. “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.”
Now the context here in Obadiah, so this is the shortest book in the Old Testament, just one chapter. It’s addressing, specifically, God is speaking through the prophet Obadiah about the people of Edom, the Edomites, who had helped capture fleeing Israelites and turned them over to the Babylonians when they were being driven out from Jerusalem. God makes clear in this chapter, in this short Bible book, that Edom the nation, the Edomites, will be held accountable for what they have done.
The day of judgment is coming and only those who believe the gospel will be saved.
So we read this verse, Verse 15, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.” The verse goes on to say, “As you have done, it shall be done to you. Your deed shall return on your own head.”
In other words, all people in all nations will one day give an account to God, and in his holiness and his justice, he will judge all the nations of the earth. This means all people in all the nations of the world need the mercy of God. All people and all nations are sinners who have rebelled against God and who deserve his just judgment.
Yet we know from New Testament, God so loved the world, all the peoples and all the nations of the world, that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will never perish but have everlasting life. The good news of the gospel, the great news of the Bible is that salvation is available for all people in all nations, that Jesus, Revelation Chapter 5, has died to purchase people for God from every nation tribe, tongue, language, every nation, every people group in the world.
That’s what we need to think of. When we hear nations, for the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations, don’t just think geopolitical entities, countries like we think of 200 or so United Nations today. Think ethnic groups, think people, groups. This is why we pray continually on this podcast for unreached people groups like today, the Karakalpak people of Uzbekistan.
Let me tell you a little bit about the Karakalpak people. So this people group is almost 100 percent Muslim. I say almost because I, we, and our church family have been connected with believers among the Karakalpak people who are meeting underground in secret, who are gathering at great risk to worship God, to study his word and to proclaim the gospel. They are working to lead other Karakalpak people to faith in Jesus. We have stories of people being baptized among the Karakalpak people.
So the gospel is going forward. The reality is though among the 750,000 or so Karakalpak people in Uzbekistan, most of them still have never even heard the good news of God’s love in Jesus. Obadiah 1:15 makes clear that the Day of the Lord is near upon all the nations, that all the Karakalpak people of Uzbekistan will one day stand before God as judge, which means we give our lives praying and giving and going as God leads to people groups like the Karakalpak people to make his mercy known among these people who’ve never even heard of his love. It’s not that they’ve heard about Jesus and rejected him. They’ve never even heard of the mercy of Jesus.
So I want to lead us to pray specifically for what God is doing among the Karakalpak people. For you and I even right now in this podcast in the next few minutes to be involved with what God is doing in Uzbekistan, and at the same time to step back and see the world through this lens.
When you look at world news among the nations and all kinds of different ways, know every nation, every tribe, every people group in the world will one day stand before God as judge. So as you look at world news, let it drive you to pray for the spread of the gospel in this nation, among that people group and this language. Let’s be world prayers. Let’s pray with a world lens for the spread of God’s mercy among all the nations, knowing the day of the Lord is near upon every single one of them.
So God we pray right now, we intercede on behalf of the Karakalpak people in Uzbekistan. God, we praise you for the spread of the gospel to that small number of believers, those small churches that are meeting underground. We pray that you would strengthen them, you would have emboldened them with the gospel. God, that you would help them to hold to your word, many of them not even able to have a physical copy of your word in their possession because of what might happen if they’re caught. So they use apps on phones and other digital devices to be able to read your word.
God we pray that you would strengthen them by your word and you would cause your word to spread through them. God, we pray for more disciples to be made, more churches to be multiplied among the Karakalpak people of Uzbekistan. God, we pray for those 750,000 or so people, most of whom have little to no knowledge of your mercy in Jesus. God, we pray that would change, that you would strengthen your church, send out your church, send out laborers from other places to go to the Karakalpak people and we pray for the spread of your fame, your name, your gospel, your grace, your mercy among this people group that will one day stand before you as a judge.
God, we pray that for thousands of other people groups who are unreached by the gospel right now, who will stand before you as judge and if they don’t hear about your mercy will be condemned to an eternity apart from you. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel to them.
God, we pray for the spread of the gospel through our lives, through our praying right now as we intercede through our giving, through our going. God, we pray that you would send out laborers into the harvest field among all the nations, among all people groups, that the news of your love and your mercy and your grace in Jesus might be made known among all the nations. For we know, we know, based on your word, the Day of the Lord, the day of your judgment is near for every nation on the earth.
So God help us to pray, give, live in light of this reality. Oh God, we praise you that your mercy in the gospel has come to us, that in the nations and the people groups we’re a part of that we have heard, and for most of us listening to this podcast believed the gospel by your grace.
So we pray that you would use our lives, our praying, our giving, our going, just every facet of our lives and our churches together to make the gospel known among all the nations, knowing that the day of the Lord is near upon every single one of them. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.
Throughout the fall, we are following the McLean Bible Church Reading Plan. You can access the reading plan here.