The Prophets

Brother to Brother

Obadiah v12 – But do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune.

Obadiah is the shortest of the prophetic books with only 21 verses. Although I try to find the lessons within each book that I go through, I particularly try to find the encouragement within the scripture. I read this book over and over and was truly at a loss to find an uplifting verse so I decided to move on to the next prophet. The Lord was not happy about that decision, for at least two reasons. Firstly, each prophet was sent for a reason and there is something to be gleaned from every book in the bible. Secondly, you can’t just flick passed the hard stuff.

Obadiah was sent to proclaim judgement upon Edom, a people who came from the line of Esau. They were a prosperous and influential people with many allies and felt that they were indestructible but the Lord said, “The pride of your heart has deceived you… though you soar aloft like the eagle, from there I will bring you down.”

Disaster had come to the door of Israel but instead of offering help, the people of Edom laughed and in fact preferred to help the enemy. This was the house of Esau and the house of Jacob; they should have been brothers in arms. A lot had happened in the 1500 years since Esau had ‘ran to meet [Jacob] and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.’ Edom now rejoiced over the ruin of Israel and boasted of their distress. Both nations came from Abraham, both were under the covenant of blessing and both had been disobedient to the laws of God. For one to take pleasure in the hardships of the other was unacceptable to the Lord.

As children of God, we don’t always get it right but somehow, there are occasions when we see the sin of others as worse than our own. We can even feel justified in watching someone receive their comeuppance, yet the Lord says, “Do not gloat over his disaster in the day of his calamity.” Christian should not rise up against Christian. If a brother falls, we help him up; if he is being harassed, we stand against it; if sin is evident, we pray for the restoration of the Lord upon their life. Not one of us is indestructible and tragedy can come to any door; it is only by God’s grace that we are spared some trouble. The lesson in Obadiah for me is:

Consider your actions – Live compassionately – Walk humbly before God.

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