Edom’s First Sin; Part II
Obadiah verses ten and eleven: “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side – In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem Even you were as one of them.”
Violence is a word we associate with physical harm coming to another. He violently stuck him in the mouth. The two cars struck each other each other violently. It seems violence is usually associated with something physical.
When attempting to understand the Bible, it is often necessary to revert back to the original context, language and the earliest dictionary available. I usually preach and teach using the New King James Version and from time to time the English Standard Version. I often refer to the original Authorized King James Version for clarity when attempting to find what the original words are in Hebrew or Greek.
The passage in Obadiah refers to the treatment by the Edomites against their brothers the Israelites at the time Babylon came and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. At that time Babylon carried away many captives to be used as slaves and also to serve in the court of the king. We can be assured that the Edomites used physical force in helping the enemy attack and destroy the city.
The natural question becomes, “How does this apply to us today?” Let’s examine Webster’s dictionary and then a passage out of Luke to find our answer.
The passage in Obadiah reads: “For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side – In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem – Even you were as one of them.
The question I must ask myself is: “have I ever stood on the other side, the other side of an issue that was against the principles of God by verbally assaulting my brother or sister in Christ instead of helping God’s cause? Having answered this question can I honestly say that my actually hurt and shame to God and my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Webster’s dictionary gives this startling definition: Eagerness; vehemence, injury, infringement. Offer no violence to the laws, or to the rules of civility. There is another definition as well. Moral force; vehemence, the critic attacked the work with violence.
This does not have to mean we physically assault people causing physical pain and abuse. True this is what happened with Israel with the falling of Jerusalem, but do we not topple spiritual Jerusalem when we violently criticize God’s work and the people involved in God’s word. When we attach, ridicule and belittle those around us. It brings shame to God and it weakens the church and mentally hurts those around us.
When John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing, a soldier asked him: “What shall we do?” John answered, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages” (see Luke 3:14).
When we intimidate others, or accuse them falsely, and are un-contented with what we have and thus verbally trample upon others to get what we feel we deserve, then are committing acts of violence against our brothers and sisters.
By our actions, we are tearing down their walls, helping the enemy of our souls to gain a foothold in their lives. Verses 10 of Obadiah states it so plainly: “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever. Why? Because, instead of building up or edifying our brothers and sisters in Christ, we aid the enemy in helping to destroy them, and by doing so risk that we ourselves will be cut off forever.