Lesson # 2
EDOM'S UN-BROTHERLY CONDUCT
Obadiah vs 10-14
Just because Obadiah is a brief book doesn't mean the lessons are abbreviated. This small book has some very significant lessons for us in this 20th Century. Petrie in his book Israel's Prophets, made the comment that "the costly and most radiant gems are often strung on the shortest thread."
[Q-1 What category of Old Testament books does Obadiah fall into?]
[Q-2 Why are some books called "major" and others "minor"?]
Today when men are prone to forget God in our lives and affairs... when we think that all of our accomplishments have been achieved by ourselves... when we become filled with pride, we need to heed the warning from this prophet of God. This Prophet warned Edom that her pride had deceived her.
The nation of Edom was a mighty little nation at this time. Her capital was Petra, a Rock City hidden securely in the mountains. She was a trade center for caravans cris-crossing the desert.
The prophet Obadiah has announced God's judgment against the nation of Edom for an unfounded pride of heart. She had placed her confidence for her security in "things" instead of in God. But now in this paragraph of study from Obadiah the prophet turns from her ungodly attitude to her ungodly action.
EDOM ENCOURAGED THE FOES OF JERUSALEM --
In verse 10 Edom is accused of doing violence against her brother Jacob. It is terrible enough to treat anyone badly, but especially when that one is a brother!
[Q-3 How could Edom and "Jacob" be termed "brothers"? ]
It was a terrible thing she had done to Judah and the deed would come back to her. One thing we can be sure if that we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:6-7).
Verse 11 tells us more detail of what Edom had exactly done. She had stood by in the day of Jerusalem's distress and watched as the enemies invaded and sacked the holy city. Because she enjoyed watching what happened to God's people without lifting a hand to help she is accused as being one of them that did it.
EDOM ENJOYED THE FALL OF JERUSALEM --
vs. 12 - 13
The enemy had pillaged the city and cast lots for the spoils and Edom was only happy to see it happen to her "brother".
Obadiah teaches us that we cannot stand idly by during our neighbor's calamity. Her hated for Judah silenced any voice of compassion. Because of her own corruption innocent multitudes suffered. Obadiah is a standing rebuke to the person who prefers not to become involved in the problems of others, and is an even greater rebuke to one who finds sadistic joy in the misfortunes of others.
But what made it worse is that Edom and Judah came forth from the same womb as twins. The Edomites were descendants of Esau while the people of Judah were descendants of Esau's twin brother, Jacob.
Edom's uninvolvement soon gave way to active participation. She soon crossed the street and began pillaging the debris. Refugees trying to escape were caught by Edom and returned to the invading enemy. Passive indifference had given way to active alliance.
EDOM ENSLAVED THE FUGITIVES OF JERUSALEM -- vs. 14
We should learn from this book how strongly God denounces indifference. Edom's heart was calloused by hate to Israel's needs. But this isn't just a thing of the past. It happens today when we see not only people who are indifferent to the needs of others, but profiting from their distress.
When we have a national disaster strike some part of our country today, what does the governor have to do first? He calls out the National Guard, not to guard against Russia, or Cuba, not to guard against the "enemy", but to keep the "neighbors" from looting!
A few years back the city of Mobile and south Alabama were devastated by hurricane Frederick. People were losing all they had, fleeing for their lives, and people along the escape route greatly increased the motel rates and merchants were charging twice the price for a loaf of bread.
Is that compassion, during the time of our brother's calamity?
A few days later when hundreds were volunteering their time to help the owners go back and cut up the fallen trees and clear away the debris, chain saws and gasoline generators were being sold for two and three times their ordinary value.
Many were sending food, clothing, and bedding. Many groups were volunteering to go and help, but some were also getting rich.
Obadiah is a masterpiece on the terribleness of taking advantage of the unfortunate. Edom took advantage of Israel. But what about us? Do we take advantage of other's misfortunes? Do we hire the poor for less because he is downtrodden? [Q- Can you think of ways people today sometimes take advantage of others in unfortunate situations? ]
As we review Edom's conduct, we notice that her sin (as most sins are) was progressive.
1. She stood by while Jerusalem was invaded;
2. She rejoiced over the city's distress;
3. She actively participated in looting the city; and
4. She set up road blocks to prevent escape.
Notice the condemnation of unbrotherliness involved:
1. Cruelty of the feet, v. 11 "she stood afar off"
2. Cruelty of the eye, v. 13 Looked on in Jerusalem's disaster
3. Cruelty of the heart, v. 12 Rejoiced in Jerusalem's destruction
4. Cruelty of the tongue, v.12 Spoke proudly
5. Cruelty of the hands, v.13 Laid hands on substance, cut off escape