We talked in my last post about how things we’re currently facing could be happening so that we’ll deal with things from the past. The Apostle Paul wrote, “You’ll reap what you sow.” This is not supposed to be some meanly intended rap on our knuckles. It’s intended to be a wake up call to deal with sin in our lives so that we can draw closer to God’s loving heart.
I suggested you read the book of Obadiah to find a verse that refers to this subject. Did you find it in verse 15? “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.”
Now why did God say this? The prophet Obadiah is writing not to the Israelites but to the people of Edom. The Edomites are the descendants of Esau, the eldest son of Isaac. In the single chapter of Obadiah, I found several aspects of the “self-protective sinful strategies” that I mention so often in this blog. And it’s these strategies that God is referring to when He says, “You’ve made your choices, now you’ll reap from them.” Unfortunately, there is no offer of redemption in Obadiah’s message. The Edomites have rejected God for too long. There’s no hope. But the message is different for us. God makes this book available to us to say, “So stop it! Repent from your wicked ways and turn to Me!” God’s work is always intended to bring us closer to His loving heart. Isn’t that wonderful?
So let’s examine the self-protective sinful strategies of the Edomites. We’re going to relate more than we can imagine.
Look at verse 3. God says, “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, You who live in the clefts of the rock, In the loftiness of your dwelling place, Who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’”
The Edomites lived in Petra. You may have heard of it. I’m hoping to visit it some day. The city is literally cut out of the rock. It’s quite impressive, I’m told, and a very popular tourist attraction. But if you wanted to attack the Edomites, you can imagine how daunting that would be. The Edomites put their trust in their dwelling place. Plus, the way to get into the city was (and is) through a narrow passageway (seen here).
Talk about protection! The Edomites thought they were impenetrable and safe. Plus, the city is watered by a continually flowing stream of water. Everything they needed was available to them. Their trust and their hope was in their surroundings. As a result, they were proud. Their proud heart said, “Who will bring me down to earth?”
Like the Edomites, it can be easy to surround ourselves with that which seems safe. When we resist seeing our weaknesses, we are depending upon pride to protect us. We don’t want to hear how we are hurting others or how we are responding in ungodly ways. We wrap ourselves in the attitude that “others do it wrong but I don’t.” It seems impossible that we could be someone else’s “irregular person.”
Here’s something hard to consider. Have you given some godly and trusted people in your life permission to point out any weakness or ungodly attitude/action that they see? What would you do if they actually did it? Could you resist pride and instead humble yourself to hear and receive? Or would it be too easy to defend and protect?
Hard questions. I know. I struggle with pride. I want to appear perfect and in control. It’s a dangerous place to be. But I want to grow in coming out from my “Petra” and be vulnerable to God’s work.
Well, that’s enough for this time. We’ll continue to explore the riches of the book of Obadiah next time.