Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obadiah 1: 10-14

10"Because of violence to your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame,
And you will be cut off forever.
11"On the day that you stood aloof,
On the day that strangers carried off his wealth,
and foreigners entered his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem--
You too were as one of them.
12"Do not gloat over your brother's day, the day of his misfortune
And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah in the day of their destruction;
Yes, do not boast in the day of their distress.
13"Do not enter the gate of My people in the day of their disaster
Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity in the day of their disaster
And do not loot their wealth in the day of their disaster.
14"Do not stand at the fork of the road to cut down their fugitives;
And do not imprison their survivors in the day of their distress.

I am reading the verses of our Scripture passage this week, and all I can hear is God, the angry parent. "Do not" and "Do not" and "Yes, you, [Edom], do not...." Of course, Edom had already done all of these things. But it was God's decision to recount for them (and for us) everything that they had done against Jacob (i.e., the Israelites).

The "violence" suffered was not just a physical attack by Edom, but an attack in multiple ways, as explained in the verses following God's condemnation in verse 10.

Edom "stood aloof," allowing Jacob's wealth to be stolen by foreigners who cast lots for the goods.
"Stood aloof" didn't just refer to the Edomites' posture in standing by. It referred to their attitude. Aloof means to be "at a distance" not just physically, but relationally. In short, they didn't care! And they didn't care because they were a self-serving nation.

A cross-reference for Verse 11 is Psalm 83:5b--"Against You they make a covenant...." In living for themselves, the Edomites rejected the covenant of God and took up the covenant of self.

Edom "gloated," "rejoiced" and "boasted" in Jacob's collapse. And as Jacob's people sought refuge, Edom met them to take them down or to capture them. This wasn't a simple misjudgment or one-time back-stabbing, this was the culmination of a long-held grudge, a lifetime of pent-up anger and resentment. (Remember the story of Esau.)

God would not show His mercy to Edom for this violence. We will read this again weeks down the road, but hear God's Word from Amos, Chapter 1, Verse 11:

"Thus says the LORD,
'For three transgressions of Edom and for four
I will not revoke its punishment,
Because he pursued his brother with the sword,
While he stifled his compassion;

His anger also tore continually,
And he maintained his fury forever.'"

I keep coming back to understanding the character of God in the light of prophecy. We will read in plenty of places throughout the Bible how God is merciful. But there are times when He withholds His mercy. For me, this means seriously taking to heart the trespasses of Edom. Vengeance, lack of compassion, unrelenting anger, "fury forever"--these are not concepts solely of concern to the Edomites.

And, though God is merciful, He is also unchanging in regard to how He views sin.
The Message paraphrase of Verse 11 makes it perfectly plain: "You stood there and watched. You were as bad as they were." Who wants to be in that spot?

Next time, "The Day of the Lord and the Future."
'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Obadiah 1: 15-18

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).


Kelly Combs said...

As Jesus said (paraphrased), Loving our neighbors is easy, it's loving our enemies that counts. But who has "gloated," "rejoiced" and "boasted" in our enemy's failure?

Good words today!

Carmen said...

It's interesting how things haven't changed. That "spirit" is still in operation today. A modern day predator who scorns spiritual inheritance and blessing. They are inclined to violence and wrath and scorn any sign of weakness or nurturing. Their hearts do not bend or break over what they have done; never repenting, they are doomed. Good post today, Sue!