September-December is a great time here at Saar Fellowship; returning friends, new friends, new routines, a chance to ditch things from our lives that don’t belong…although its the ninth month of the year, September always feels like a fresh start.
So far in Obadiah, we’ve seen that pride is a terrible thing (vv.1-4), and that we should not boast (vv.5-9). Today, we see that ignorance is not innocence, and knowing the right thing is only good if we do it (These verses are actually paralleled in Jeremiah 49, showing us that Jeremiah likely had Obadiah’s prophecy before him in writing and in ministry.)
Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,
shame shall cover you,
and you shall be cut off forever.
On the day that you stood aloof,
on the day that strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
But do not gloat over the day of your brother
in the day of his misfortune;
do not rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their ruin;
do not boast
in the day of distress.
Do not enter the gate of my people
in the day of their calamity;
do not gloat over his disaster
in the day of his calamity;
do not loot his wealth
in the day of his calamity.
Do not stand at the crossroads
to cut off his fugitives;
do not hand over his survivors
in the day of distress.
We read here a series of judgements on Edom for standing by whilst Jacob (Israel) was attacked and didn’t help, they knew they should have helped due to their shared ancestry, but they didn’t.
They did nothing, then rejoiced in the distress of their neighbours, then took advantage of this, then joined in, and finally killed those trying to escape.
The pride and betrayal we read of are, sadly, very human conditions, and if we are honest, lurk within us all. They knew they should have helped, but didn’t, and standing around whilst these terrible things happened and feigning ignorance of what was happening is simply not good enough.
So, are we the same?
Are we the same when we see people in distress? The parable of the good samaritan clearly shows us that our neighbour – the one we are to help – is the one with a need right in front of us, either spiritual or practical (Luke 10).
Today, then, let us not be like Edom, where there is a need let us be mindful and aware of it, let us do what we can do help, let us pull together as a house of living stones to help collectively if needed, but let us not pretend we are unaware of what is happening around us, because ignorance is not innocence.
Scriptures to think on today;
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.