That's the Book: Obadiah
I have car issues. Moldy Starbucks mugs, missing socks, mountains of papers and old french fry kinds of issues. For Valentine's Day my husband bought me a gift card to get the car detailed at a local service shop. Out of a mix of embarrassment and schedule crunches I haven't made it in.
I recognize this is like thinking you have to get your life straight before the local church will let you in. I totally understand. No way am I showing my mess to the car guys. Pride is getting in the way of me getting help.
Pride is dangerous. Pride is also the theme of the short message from Obadiah.
Remember the story of Jacob and Esau? Two brother's who warred over their inheritance? Fast forward Jacob's decedendants became the people of Israel. Esaus' became the people of Edom. Edom was also the country just east of Israel. Brothers. Neighbors.
When Israel was taken into captivity by the Babylonians you'd hope that their neighboring relations would have come to the rescue. Instead, the Edomites caught escaping Judeans and handed them over to their enemies. They also plundered the remaining cities.
The prophet Obadiah has a message for these prideful and vengeful Edomites.
"The pride of your heart has decieved 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 1:3
This afternoon I was doing some random pickup in the house. I piled all the kid's belongings which were strewn throughout the house into a laundry basket and set it at the top of the stairs for them to deal with and put away. I was gloating a bit that none of the pile was my mess. Rare shocker but true. Mom lecture in full force.
Then I remembered my car.
"You should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble." Obadiah 1:12
Listen here. I recognize that catching my kids in a lie or a mess is minor when compared to laughing over a person in misery. But is it? Have you been there? When you laugh at someone else's pain? Or cheer when a rival fails? Ever felt the temptation to rat someone out and laugh as you watch consequences roll? Sigh. Pride and envy and selfishness are ugly. All the time. I can talk a good grace message but do I put it into practice with the people closest to me? Sometimes.
I hauled myself out to the garage and set to work dealing with my junk. Guess what? My laundry basket was more full than the kids. My earlier gloating was a pitiful joke.
"The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head." Obadiah 1:15
Centuries later the promised Messiah preached a similar message. "So in everything, do to others what you want have them do to you, fur this sums up the Law and the Prophets" Matthew 7:12. A concept used in the prophets for judgment and warning Jesus used for blessing. Justice and Grace intertwined again. Truly it sounds like we get to pick. Grace or judgment? What do you want? What do you give?
You see, pride was keeping me from using the gift my husband gave me. Pride was also causing me to boast and puff to my kids about their failings. The enemy of your soul and mine is not creative. He uses pride as trap over and over again. Truth is we're all a mess. Drop the pride. Say you are sorry. Don't gloat over other's failings or misfortune. Give grace. Take the gift.
This little one chapter book made so much more sense after I watched the Bible Project's Read Scripture. I am gonna keep saying it until you start....but you really should watch these!
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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