Obadiah 1-9 (NRSV)
Those who ate your bread set a trap
The vision of Obadiah.
Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
"Rise up! Let us rise against it for battle!"
I will surely make you least among the nations;
you shall be utterly despised.
Your proud heart has deceived you,
you that live in the clefts of the rock,
whose dwelling is in the heights.
You say in your heart,
"Who will bring me down to the ground?"
Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
though your nest is set among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,
says the Lord.
If thieves came to you,
if plunderers by night
--how you have been destroyed!--
would they not steal only what they wanted?
If grape-gatherers came to you,
would they not leave gleanings?
How Esau has been pillaged,
his treasures searched out!
All your allies have deceived you,
they have driven you to the border;
your confederates have prevailed against you;
those who ate your bread have set a trap for you--
there is no understanding of it.
On that day, says the Lord,
I will destroy the wise out of Edom,
and understanding out of Mount Esau.
Your warriors shall be shattered, O Teman,
so that everyone from Mount Esau will be cut off.
Today Obadiah is prophesying against the nation of Edom. Edom was Israel’s neighbor to the East and South. They were considered “kin” of the Israelites, as they traced their ancestry to Brother Esau. Thus, their betrayal against Israel was a stinging blow! Prophet Obadiah speaks to this betrayal in today’s narrative.
I don’t know about you, but I have been egregiously betrayed in my lifetime. The word “betray” has no positive meanings. When I looked it up in the dictionary it said things like, “to deliver to an enemy, be disloyal, reveal a secret, deceive, misguide, or corrupt.”
OUCH! Betrayal is never a good thing! It is always bad news.
As a living, breathing, human being, it is likely that you, too, have been betrayed. So today’s question is, “How shall we appropriately deal with a betrayal?”
Well, it seems like we have many options. We can sit around and mope about it, scandalize the name of the one who hurt us, fail to trust others for the rest of our lives, and/or descend into depression and never come out.
I have seen people do one—or more---of these things in the face of a grave betrayal. In fact, when I was betrayed I became very sad, despondent, and hopeless. People that I should have been able to trust turned their backs on me and left me to certain disaster and it felt just terrible!
As I moped about for a couple of months, I was unable to read my Bible or pray. I was absolutely sure that there was no one who could understand my pain or identify with my heartache.
But, at some point, as a result of the prayers and ministry of my family and friends, I came to the realization that there was someone who knew all about being “wounded in the house of a friend.” His name is JESUS.
JESUS was betrayed by Judas, his disciple, friend, and follower. Judas had been with Jesus, day and night, for three long years, and in repayment he betrayed Jesus to his enemies and murderers—with a kiss! Can you imagine?!
This morning on Twitter I read a Tweet that said, “Do not go to bed angry. Stay up all night and plot your revenge.”
Whilst this may incite some giggles from us, it is not Jesus’ example for us!
Instead, as Jesus was dying on the cross, wounded and betrayed in body, mind, and spirit by Judas—and by the sin of the whole world—Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…”
As a result of Jesus’ choice to meet betrayal with love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, God’s love overcame sin, death, and the grave and now we all stand before God forgiven of our sin and gifted with eternal life!
This lesson has stuck with me since that first bitter betrayal. Now, whenever I am betrayed, or offended by someone, I pray to become like Jesus. I pray to be the heart, mind, mouth, hands, and/or feet of Jesus in the life of the one who has hurt me.
This is not always easy; but, it is always right!
Since I have put all of my hope of salvation in Jesus, I know that I can trust God to offer correction and discipline to whomever is in need of it! I do not have to fight those battles. Thus, I am set free to love and forgive—even my worst enemy!
You, too, are free—to love and forgive. Now, ain’ta that good news?!
Is there a person or institution that you need to forgive on this day? If so, please pray with me:
Holy God, I have been hurting so much as a result of the stinging betrayal of ______________*. Please help me to love and forgive so that I can be healed of this pain. I know that you, too, have known the pain of betrayal. Thank you that your love gave Jesus to die on the cross to save me from my sin and gift me with eternal life. I am so grateful for your love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Please help me to extend the same to others through the power of the Holy Spirit working in me. I love you and I want to be your love for the entire world! I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*insert person or institution here.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus."