Scripture Focus: Ezekiel 35.5-15
5 “ ‘Because you harbored an ancient hostility and delivered the Israelites over to the sword at the time of their calamity, the time their punishment reached its climax, 6 therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. 7 I will make Mount Seir a desolate waste and cut off from it all who come and go. 8 I will fill your mountains with the slain; those killed by the sword will fall on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines. 9 I will make you desolate forever; your towns will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
10 “‘Because you have said, “These two nations and countries will be ours and we will take possession of them,” even though I the Lord was there, 11 therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will treat you in accordance with the anger and jealousy you showed in your hatred of them and I will make myself known among them when I judge you. 12 Then you will know that I the Lord have heard all the contemptible things you have said against the mountains of Israel. You said, “They have been laid waste and have been given over to us to devour.” 13 You boasted against me and spoke against me without restraint, and I heard it. 14 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: While the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate. 15 Because you rejoiced when the inheritance of Israel became desolate, that is how I will treat you. You will be desolate, Mount Seir, you and all of Edom. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”
Reflection: God Hears What We Celebrate
By John Tillman
Edom, to whom this prophecy is directed, was family to Israel. Esau and Jacob were brothers. They were very different from each other, yet remained family. Esau was a burly outdoorsman. Jacob, who would become Israel, was a soft-skinned homebody. Esau was a skilled hunter in the wilderness. Jacob was a skilled cook in the kitchen.
They were separated from each other by guile and deception. They harmed each other and spent years apart due to anger and hatred. God brought about their reconciliation. But their descendants never gave up the old conflict.
“Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.”
God often allows or even orders violence against those who have brought violence on the Earth. He allows and even encourages tyrants to depose other tyrants. He “whistles for” empires to crush other empires as a man might whistle for a dog to retrieve slain game from a field. (Isaiah 5.26; 7.18-20)
Often, when we find a particularly harsh and violent judgment from God, it doesn’t seem as harsh once we consider history. Multiple times in Israel’s history, Edom had the chance to behave like a brother, like family. Instead, they behaved like an enemy. Even when they did not directly attack Israel or Judah, they cheered on those who did and swept in to wipe out the survivors, enslaving or abusing them.
The bloodshed that Edom cheered when it was directed at their enemy, Israel, would turn and follow them. What they desired to happen to others would happen to them and God would set this in motion.
We need to be careful about what we love and what we hate. We need to be careful about what we approve and what we cheer.
God doesn’t slumber. God won’t sleep on us rejoicing in harm, violence, or threats upon others. He will not look away when we harbor ancient, or new, hostilities.
God hears our boastful cheers. Our boasts of power. Our boasts of gain. Our boasts of personal freedom. Our boasts of what we deserve. Our boasts of what our enemies deserve.
Rather than follow the path of Edom, and reap the judgment they sowed, let us sow differently.
Let us bless rather than curse.
Let us choose to behave like brothers, like family.
And even if our enemy stumbles, let us not be proud or rejoice. (Proverbs 24.17-18)
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; save your servant whose trust is in you. — Psalm 86.2
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Ezekiel 35 (Listen 2:21)
Titus 1 (Listen 2:24)
Ezekiel 36 (Listen 6:40) Titus 2 (Listen 2:01)
Ezekiel 37 (Listen 5:07) Titus 3 (Listen 2:05)
Read more about Lesson of Edom
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