Sometimes not doing something is sinful

In the Old Testament, we can find the Book of Obadiah.  The book is only one chapter long, and is a prophesy against the nation of Edom.  Edom is confident in its security thanks to its mountainous strongholds.  Obadiah wrote, “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘who can bring me down to the ground?’” (Obadiah 3)  But, God speaking through Obadiah, promises judgement against Edom because of their hostile acts toward Israel.  “Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you (Edom) will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever.” (Obadiah 10)  In the book, God will give us six reasons why He will bring judgment against Edom.  Maybe we can learn from this.

In verse ten, we are reminded that the violence Edom has expressed toward Israel is made all the worse because it was brother against brother.  God told the people, “Do not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother…” (Deuteronomy 23: 7)  In Obadiah 11, we see two things that led to God’s judgment.  Edom stood by and watched as Israel was being attacked by outside forces.  They watched as the enemies of Israel “cast lots for Jerusalem”.  This was a typical way for winning armies to divide the spoils amongst their warriors.  We can understand that some things we do are sinful.  But, here, we can see that sometimes not doing something is sinful.  At the time of the Exodus, as the Hebrew were preparing to cross the Jordan into Canaan, two of the tribes wanted to make their homes on the east side of the river, and not cross with the others.  Moses agreed to this, but told them, they would still have to cross the Jordan, and help the other tribes secure the land, and then they could return.  Moses warned them, “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32: 23)

Another reason for God’s judgment against Edom is found in verse eleven.  Edom looked with glee and gloated at the trouble Israel was facing.  (Let me encourage you to read Psalms 137).   Edom took wealth from Jerusalem. (vs. 13)  And finally, in verse 14, we learn that when Israel tried to retreat from their enemies, Edom blocked their path.  When the people of Edom captured some of the fleeing Israelites, they sold them in to slavery!  I hope I have given us something to think about.  If we want mercy from God, maybe we should show mercy to others. (Obadiah 15)

About The Author

Dan Porte
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.



© 2018 by Berean Baptist Church


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