The Edomites were descendants of Esau (Genesis 36:1-9). God desired a certain peace between Israel and Edom (Deuteronomy 23:7). However, Edom and Israel did not have a peaceful history. Edom had refused Israel passage through their land (Numbers 20:14-21). Later, they had smitten Judah (II Chronicles 28:16-17). When Judah was being punished by God at the hands of the Babylonians, Edom had used that advantage to take vengeance on Judah (Ezekiel 25:12-14).
Why wouldn’t they consider, knowing their history with the Lord, that they were setting themselves in opposition to the Lord? Since the Edomites had a treacherous history with the people of God, they had made themselves the enemies of God. Thus, the Lord said this: “Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land” (Joel 3:19). What kept them from understanding what they were doing to themselves?
Obadiah the prophet gives us an answer to this question. Notice: “The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes? How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up! All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress” (Obadiah 1:1-14).
The Pride Of Thine Heart
We just read that the pride of the heart of those in Edom had deceived them. They did not see their state of opposition with the Lord because their pride was deceptive. This makes a lot of sense. We know that pride precedes destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Solomon wrote: “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility” (Proverbs 18:12). Other nations were guilty of the same problem (Isaiah 10:5-19). This is not just a problem among nations though.
The congregation in Laodicea was “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:14-16). They didn’t see it though because of their pride. Notice: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:17-19).
We must examine ourselves continually (II Corinthians 13:5). In doing so, we have to be honest and humble (II Chronicles 7:14). If we’re not on the Lord’s side of things, we have to be humble enough to make it right (James 4:6-10). Don’t let pride deceive you!
Take some time and meditate upon this familiar parable: “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).
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