A Warning about Piling On

Today’s reading:

Obadiah 1- Jonah 4:11

My Selection:

The pride of your heart has deceived you,
    you who live in the clefts of the rock,
    in your lofty dwelling,
who 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,
declares the Lord.    Obadiah 3-4

The prophet Obadiah issued a warning to the Edomites.  Judgment loomed for their merciless treatment of the refugees from Judah who fled from the invading Babylonian army.  Instead of protecting them, the Edomites captured those refugees and turned them over to the invaders.  They used the Jews as hostages to be traded to Nebuchadnezzar’s forces.

God’s Ways

God’s ways are complex.  Think about it. He sent the invading army to carry out His discipline against Judah.  But He did not condone Edom’s piling on His people who were under His discipline.  Instead, He sent a prophet to confront them for their pride and heartlessness.

James also warned against the failure to show mercy. “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment”  James 2:13.

Pride can blind a person to the suffering of others. That kind of blindness can lead to hardness of heart and failure to show love and compassion to those who are in trouble.  Beware of piling on those who are suffering, even when they suffer for their own failures.  A day of judgment is coming.  God will bring down the proud and those who failed to show mercy.  How can you show mercy today?

For more reflections on today’s reading, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Silence in Heaven

Those who boast proudly before God will someday learn to keep silent before Him.

Today’s reading: Obadiah; Revelation 8
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
in your lofty dwelling,
who say in your heart,
“Who will bring me down to the ground?”
4 Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
though your nest is set among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord.                                                                      Obadiah 1:3-4

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.                                                                                             Revelation 8:1

In John’s Revelation, the Lamb opens six of the seven seals. When He comes to the seventh seal, something unprecedented occurs. There is silence in heaven. The saints lifted up worship and loud praises to God, but now it stops. The guilty cry out in grief that the mountains should fall upon them to hide them. Now they all grow silent. It is as if they wait to see what the Lamb will do next. Then the judgment falls everywhere.

There was a time when the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, had grown so proud that they thought no one could bring them down. They vented their arrogance on suffering Israel. God sent Obadiah to warn them that He would bring them down. The judgment would be more thorough and complete than anything they could imagine.

The proud and foolish think that God, if He exists at all, has no interest or knowledge of people on earth. They see believers dying for their faith and do not know that the Lord receives them and keeps them safe. He reassures them that they will be avenged. The day of wrath comes.

What should be our attitude toward God? Prayerful humility behooves us. Silence before Him is befitting. Let all boastful pride be eliminated and replaced with prayerful humility and silence.



The Deceitfulness of Pride

Today’s reading: Obadiah 1-Jonah 4:11

My selection: Obadiah 3-4

3 The pride of your heart has deceived you,

you who live in the clefts of the rock,

in your lofty dwelling,

who say in your heart,

“ Who will bring me down to the ground?”

4 Though you soar aloft like the eagle,

though your nest is set among the stars,

from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord.

My reflections: Edom took advantage of Judah’s invasion by Babylon. They mercilessly captured those fleeing from Nebuchadnezzar and turned them over to him. How could they be so heartless? Easy. They were deceived by their own pride. Like Amaziah in yesterday’s reading, they felt secure in their kingdom and willing to use their position to win favor with the Babylonians.

My challenge: Nothing is more deceptive than pride. Beware of false security which leads to pride and can make you hard-hearted toward the suffering of others Keep humble before a holy, sovereign God. You are not invincible.

Tomorrow’s reading: Micah 1:1-7:7

The Undaunted Prophet

Today’s reading: Amos 5:1-9:15

My selection: Amos 7:12-15

12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. 15 But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

My reflections: King Amaziah of Israel felt secure in his own kingdom, secure enough to send the prophet of God out of the land. He foolishly believed his own press reports, that he ruled a land that was his forever. He called it his sanctuary. So he attempted to deport Amos to Judah.

Amos, though admittedly a farmer and herdsman, not a member of the professional prophets’ guild, did not back down. He had been commissioned by God, and he did not flinch in the face of royal opposition.

My challenge: Like Amaziah, we are not sovereign over the property we think we own or the people we think we manage. Our positions are precarious at best. Although the land I live on has been in our family for 70 years, one day I will leave it behind. God is eternal. Only He controls completely all there is. Walk before Him in humility. Know His commands and calling, as Amos did, and be undaunted to do God’s will.

Tomorrow’s reading: Obadiah 1-Jonah 4:11