Google+ 07/13/13 Pride Leads to Prejudice and Humility leads to Harmony!

Obadiah 1:2-4

 

The Lord says to Edom,
“I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised.
You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress

And make your home high in the mountains.
‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’ you ask boastfully.
But even if you soar as high as eagles and build your nest among the stars,
I will bring you crashing down,” says the Lord.

 

Obadiah is a small one-chapter Old Testament book, often overlooked between Amos and Jonah.  It is unfortunate that we often skip over this chapter as there is a powerful message that we all need to hear.  Edom was a territory settled by Esau's descendants, high up in the mountains.  There was a natural security built into this region because of the mountain-stronghold that all Edomites enjoyed.  This in itself was not a problem.  What they did with this security certainly became a problem for God.  They used this opportunity to tax every caravan that came through their territory.  They had no fear of retaliation because of the location of "the rock," which is a reference to their capital city.  The Hebrew name for this city was "Sela."  All the canyons that led in and out of Edom were narrow and greatly protected by their natural, mountainous surroundings.  Today, God says that He will destroy Edom because they have been deceived by their own pride.  God mocks the Edomites declaration that no one can reach them because of their geological advantage.  God reminds the Edomites, and all of us, that no one is safe from the wrath of God when we are prideful.  God concludes this Scripture lesson by explaining that it simply doesn't matter how "indestructible" we think we are, God will always strike-down our selfish and prideful ways.  Have we built our lives in the "mountains," secluded and untouchable by others?  Do we boast of our invincibility to others and to God because our pride has deceived us?  With great sorrow, my answer to this question is often "YES."  Unfortunately, we have a tendency to "read our own press" too much.  Have you ever wondered why churches are prosperous in one generation and empty in another?  Proverbs 16:18 says, " Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall."  The Edomites got so carried away with themselves that they forgot who provided the mountains where they lived.  God never intended for them to use their natural fortification and beauty for evil to make money.  Their pride had gotten so out of control that they didn't even see what they were doing, so God reminded them.  Now for the rest of the story!  Edom never repented and was eventually destroyed, exactly as God foretold.  That's why there are many "For Sale Signs" out in front of church buildings today.  Churches have a tendency to testify to their own pride by their actions.  How can we tell when our "mountain fortress" is about to be destroyed?  As churches, that is easy.  We stop evangelizing and teaching.  New Christians are scarce and families with young children go somewhere else.  Every service and every publication is plagued with pleas for money from the "passing caravans."  Usually these pleas are disquised in some way as being "ministerial" in nature, but in reality, no ministries are actually being funded at all.  The tension and turmoil that abounds is usually denied by church leadership.  In other words, the church's pride deceives its members.  Today, as individuals, let's get our lives and noses out of the clouds.  Let's give God the Glory for all He has done.  Let's be wiser than the Edomites.  Remember, Pride leads to Prejudice and Humility leads to Harmony!