This morning I read the book of Obadiah in the Old Testament. It’s a short book, but it shares a powerful message. In a mere 21 verses the story of Edom, its deplorable behavior against Judah, and its future, righteous justice is spelled out.
The people of Edom haughtily stood by as Jerusalem was plundered by its enemy. Edom not only didn’t try to help its relatives, it enjoyed, and reveled in their destruction. Perched in the mountains, believing themselves completely protected and safe from harm, they did absolutely nothing to help their relatives during their desperate time of need.
Obadiah prophesies their complete and utter destruction as punishment for their pride and the wicked, perverse pleasure they took by gloating over Judah’s pain, and destruction. Their behavior made them the same as the destroyers, states the Lord. Their inaction not only reflects the state of their heart, but also condemns them.
“There is none righteous, no not one” it says in Roman 3:10. That is so obvious if you read Obadiah. But, much can be learned about our own hearts from this account. God makes it quite clear that it is evil to stand by, and not bring aid when it is needed. To simply stand by, and allow evil, is to participate in it! It’s pretty straightforward. Obadiah 1:11 - On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.
It goes on to say we shouldn’t look down on them in the day of their misfortune nor take advantage of them, in any way. Hmmmm….no gloating, no “spinning” the situation to our advantage. Help and protect. Be part of the solution or you are part of the problem. This was a “family” situation. Edom and Judah were relatives.
How many times are the people we hurt the most family; those closest to us? How many times have we secretly gloated when someone else lost or “got what they deserved”? Too many, I’m sure. In those moments, we were absolutely no better than the enemy. Wow...no there's a thought...let that one into your heart.
God is unfailingly perfect, righteous and just. God is love. Evil is the absence of all of that. Evil is the absence of God. Evil is the absence of love. Is He absent in your life? In parts of your life? How much of your heart do you allow Him? My suggestion would be all of it. Hold nothing back. He needs and deserves an "all-access" pass to your heart.
Lord, please forgive me for any and all pridefulness, gloating and inaction that I am guilty of. I want my heart to be so clean. Give me eyes to see people like you do…with abundant love. And Lord, please forgive our nation for this too. I repent of it as a member of this nation. Help us Lord to humble ourselves before you once again, as a mighty Christian nation.
I love you, Father