Lesson of Edom

Scripture Focus: Obadiah 12, 15-17
12 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.

15 “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. 
16 Just as you drank on my holy hill, 
so all the nations will drink continually; 
they will drink and drink 
and be as if they had never been. 
17 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; 
it will be holy, 
and Jacob will possess his inheritance. 

Reflection: Lesson of Edom
By John Tillman

Obadiah has a tightly focused vision. Don’t gloat or take pleasure at the downfall of others, especially your brothers and sisters.

Yesterday we referred to leaders, churches, and organizations that have been destroyed by revelations of misconduct and sin. As we said yesterday, “When sin is revealed and an organization crumbles, it was God who struck the blow, not an enemy.” 

Even though churches may be damaged, this destruction is not caused by “enemies of the church.” Those who reveal wrongdoing are cooperating with God. However, when we witness this we should be humbled not prideful. We should be mournful and mindful of our own vulnerabilities, not smug and boastful of our infallibility.

I have seen examples of this in my faith tradition. When the Catholic Church was rocked with sex abuse scandals in the early 2000s many prominent Southern Baptists took it as an opportunity to put Catholicism on blast. They blamed celibacy, episcopal polity, and Catholic theology. They took victory laps on Twitter and in think pieces that pridefully postured their “superior” polity and ecclesiology as bulwarks against abuse.

As the revelations continue to roll in about sexual abuse in the SBC, it is clear that SBC polity, theology, and leadership were unable or unwilling to prevent abuse or protect the organization or the victims of abuse. The same practices and worse were occurring in our own house, even while we threw stones at our Catholic brethren. We didn’t learn from the Edomites.

What is the purpose of this comparison to Edom? 

We must look inward to examine the hearts of ourselves, our leaders, and our organizations. Just as there are some who wrongly label those who expose the truth about corruption as enemies, there are some who seem to take pleasure in the carnage of organizations stricken by scandal.

It is not that we shouldn’t celebrate justice but we must temper our jubilance with the knowledge that we are equally vulnerable and prone to sin.

The point of Obidiah’s vision is that there is no corner of creation, no kingdom, no people over whom God does not hold authority. God intends to purify individuals, churches, and kingdoms through whatever means required. Where there is sin, he will expose it. Where there are victims he will be on the side of justice. May we stand with him.

Further Reading: Dr. Russell Moore, writing in 2019, “Southern Baptists Face Their #MeToo Moment”

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus said: “In all truth I tell you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me.” — John 13.20

Today’s Readings
Obadiah 1 (Listen – 3:28)
John 12 (Listen – 6:26)

Read more about No Princes
Unable to separate their faith from the identity of the leader, they abandon faith.

Read more about Honoring The Truth
Seeking the truth is not only a spiritual quest. It is sometimes a civic one. Or a legal one.

Thanksgiving Stirs God’s Heart

Luke 5.8
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

Reflection: Thanksgiving Stirs God’s Heart
By John Tillman

When Simon (not yet called Peter) saw what Christ had done for him and his partners, he skipped right over being thankful to being fearful. “Go away from me! I’m not worthy. I don’t understand! You don’t know how sinful I am!”

Simon didn’t yet understand the heart of Jesus. He didn’t understand that he came for the sinful, that he was seeking that which was lost, and that Simon himself would be changed and would become, Peter, the rock.

But whatever happened in this moment, he was changed enough at heart to follow when Jesus asked. This passage from Luke resounds with thankfulness from those touched by Christ.

Richard Foster writes in his book Prayer, that seeing the heart of God is the key that opens the door to thankfulness in our hearts.

If we could only see the heart of the Father, we would be drawn into praise and thanksgiving more often. It is easy for us to think that God is so majestic and so highly exalted that our adoration makes no difference to him. To be sure, the self-sufficiency of God is a precious doctrine, but we should always remember that words of Saint Augustine: “God thirsts to be thirsted after.”

Our God is not made of stone. His heart is the most sensitive and tender of all. No act goes unnoticed, no matter how insignificant or small. A cup of cold water is enough to put tears in the eyes of God.

Foster goes on to list many who, with simple acts of thanksgiving, touched the heart of Christ. When we act in thanksgiving, acknowledging the gifts of God’s Spirit to us, it connects us to Christ and marks us as his children carrying on his work in this world. Foster continues:

And what about us? Dare we hold back? It brings joy to the heart of God when we grip that pierced hand and say simply and profoundly, “Thank you, bless you, praise you.!”

And if we cannot grasp his hand in thankfulness, we can grasp the hand of our enemies in love.
And if we cannot provide him a place to lay his head, we can work that others might have one.
And if we cannot anoint his head and feet, we can anoint those who suffer in this world.
And if we cannot weep on his feet, we can weep with those who weep.

For what we do to the least of these, we do unto Him.
And what we would do for One, by His power, we may do for all.

Prayer: The Small Verse
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.  — Isaiah 9.1

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Obadiah 1 (Listen – 3:28)
Luke 5 (Listen – 5:04)

Additional Reading
Read More about Thankful Workers for Peace :: Worldwide Prayer
May we be as miraculously transformed as the Gerasene man, and as thankful as he, running to the cities with the life-changing message of the gospel.

Read More about Thanksgiving in Times of Trial
The first Christians were thankful in suffering because their focus rested not on the storm around them, but on the solid rock of Christ.

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Three Pictures of Christ

[Jesus said,] “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” — Luke 5.4

“Master,” Peter replied, “we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” The other masters of the world lorded their power over people like Simon Peter; he was a mere fisherman, dependent on what he pulled from the water for his well-being.

Christ revealed himself as a master worth following—a master who provided for the needs of the day while calling Peter to a life of sacrifice, service, and meaning beyond what he would have achieved on his own.

And when Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” — Luke 5.20

There were many then, and now, that Christ would not stand in front of to touch and heal, so in his healing he drew attention to something greater. Jesus taught it is sin that is our deepest and most debilitating pain. In healing pride and brokenness—which have paralyzed our true nature—Jesus shows himself as the true Lord and Healer.

Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” — Luke 5.31-32

Tax collectors were notoriously corrupt. Eating at Levi’s table is the equivalent of sipping wine from Bernie Madoff’s cellar—it’s offensive to even think of an upright person partaking in the fruit of corruption. Jesus wasn’t there to enjoy exquisite food and drink, he was there to give himself as a friend.

Jesus befriends outcasts to his own detriment—sacrificing reputation as the elite scorn him and offering his life as the proud reject him. Jesus is the living example that there is no greater love than a man laying down his life, even while we are yet sinners.

[Jesus said,] “And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” —Luke 5.39

Instead of unapproachable power, Simon Peter found blessing. Instead of a God removed from the pain of life, the sick found intimacy and healing. Instead of judgment that precluded relationship, Levi found sacrifice that allowed for embrace.

Christ shows himself as our greatest provider, the solution to our deepest problem, and loving friend who lays down all to live in relationship with us.

Today’s Reading
Obadiah 1 (Listen – 3:28)
Luke 5 (Listen – 5:04)