“But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape;
it will be a holy place.
And the people of Israel will come back
to reclaim their inheritance.
The people of Israel will be a raging fire,
and Edom a field of dry stubble.
The descendants of Joseph will be a flame
roaring across the field, devouring everything.
There will be no survivors in Edom.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Obadiah 1:17-18 New Living Translation
In contrast to the fate that God was predicting for Edom, Jerusalem would again be a place of refuge for those who survived the exile in Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. God had given Jerusalem a special place as the city where His presence dwelled at that time. Even though Jerusalem had suffered a major defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, God was not finished with Jerusalem, yet. The remnant of Israel and Judah would be reunited and their religious and cultural life would revolve around Jerusalem again. These events would set the stage for God to institute His spiritual Kingdom through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in the years to come.
History tells us that the Edomites were eventually known by their Hellenistic name of Idumaea. After being displaced from their homeland, the Idumaeans were eventually absorbed into Jewish culture during the Maccabean period nearly two hundred years before the time of Christ. Ironically, it was an Idumaean descendent, Herod the Great, who would oversee the building of the final Temple in Jerusalem. This temple would be the one standing when God initiated His new covenant and new Kingdom through Jesus. The spiritual Kingdom initiated by Jesus would become the final refuge for remnant people from all nations that would find their first identity in Him.
Those of us who follow Jesus today are part of this spiritual Kingdom. We have found a place of refuge from all human oppression and the systems of injustice that it creates. We also have the opportunity to be a place of refuge for those from all people groups who seek to escape the corruption of this world and the kingdoms of man that stand in opposition to the ways of God.
God, you provide a place of refuge for those whose hearts seek after your ways. Keep us safe from the kingdoms of this world that stand in opposition to You. Help us to be people that welcome Your remnant from all nations into this place of refuge.