Edom’s Second Sin
Who is my neighbor? Who is my brother or sister? Cain asked of God, “Am I my brother’s keeper” (see Genesis 4:9)? Jesus answered this question, but instead of using the words brother or sister he answered the question by asking, “Who is my neighbor.” Christ often spoke using parables as illustration to make a point. But in this case, it was a true story. There was much hatred between the Jews and the Samarians. It was a long-standing feud, yet the Jews and the Samarians were related. The Samarians were a mixed race made up several different peoples including the old northern kingdom of Israel. Because of the Jews hatred of the Samarians, Christ could not have used this as an illustration if the story had not been true and already well known. They would have instantly rejected him at the very notion that Christ was associating the Samarians as a neighbor. But since the story was true, and well known, he could use it to prove a point.
We all recognize this as the story of the Good Samaritan which is found in Luke 10:25-37. I invite you to read the story and then finish the rest of this post. The verses in Obadiah are 11 and 12.
“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. But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.”
All of us suffer from temptation and even from the results of falling to that temptation. I have seen people’s lives wrecked because of their additions to Alcohol, gambling, lying, stealing, sexual immorality and even to the different foods they eat. I have seen these people walk through the doors of the church, seeking help, wanting to know that there is a loving God that truly loves them and cares for them. They have come seeking new relationships, not only with God, but with the saints the fill the pews each week.
How sad when these people come, begin to learn and grow in Christ, and then the little whispers begin, as members of the saints, those tares that sit with the wheat in the pews begin to wag their tongue stating, they got what they deserved. Their life would not be such a mess if they had only remained true to what they were taught as a kid. How is it that they should be accepted back after what have done? It is almost as though they rejoice at the affliction that others suffer as a result of their sins.
When Jerusalem was destroyed the Edomites rejoiced at what was happening to the Jews. And the Edomites that sit among the pews each week often rejoice when they see others suffering, thinking and often saying to others, I’m glad its them, and not me. They are such a sinner, they deserve what they get.
Strangely as the priest and the Levite passed on by the man who lay by the side of the road I wonder what was going through their mind. Were they too laughing saying to themselves, he deserved what he got. But the Samaritan answers the question for us all first asked by Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Instead of laughing and feeling superior of my brother and sister, our response to their condition should one of compassion and mercy, not only concerned for their present condition, but of their future condition as well. For not only is the whole world my neighbor, they are also my brothers and sisters and no matter their color, their faith, their heritage, they should be treated with compassion and mercy, respecting the fact that they are my brothers and sisters. Which brings us to Edom’s third sin which we explore next time.