Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Obadiah: From Up There, I'll Bring You Down

Edom was "up there." Success is God's will. There was nothing wrong with Edomites living on high mountain tops, secure in their rock cleft dwellings. In fact, Esau (from whom Edom was derived) had the first-born blessing. He was a son of Isaac, who was a son of Abraham. He was lined up for blessings until he despised his position and sold it to Jacob.



From "up there" God brought him down. He lost his first born rights to Jacob. Often, success can make us despise our position in God. Being a successful hunter and getting Isaac's favor, he thought he was so secure. What harm would losing your first-born rights do if you're already dad's favorite? And Jacob? He's nothing but a house cook, a mama's boy, a home boy. He'd never amount to anything.


When you despise your inheritance in favor of success, you also begin to despise your brother. A lot of believers can sacrifice God in favor of mundane favors. Do they succeed? Oh yes, more than you can imagine. And when they succeed, they tend to despise the brethren who opted to sacrifice mundane favors and chose God instead. 


Through generations, Edom had been like that to his brother--despising him and celebrating his failures and defeats. Instead of siding with Israel, Edom sided with the enemy, looting Israel and victimizing her fleeing survivors. To Edom, it was material favor over godly position.


You can have so much success living like Edom. God allows you to enjoy being "up there" for a while, giving you time to repent and change heart towards your marginalized brother. But if no change of heart is imminent, God will "bring you down," and that's with a prophetic declaration, making it final and irrevocable. 


Indeed, in history, Edom was brought down, falling with a great crash, ceasing as a nation while defending Jerusalem against Rome in Ad 70. God can be ironic.


You can be "up there" while enjoying ungodliness and think of it all as God's blessings to you despite your wickedness. Don't commit the mistake of deriding your poor brother who opted out of mundane favors and stuck it out with God from beginning to end but seemed to have ended up zero. 


The rich easily finds the poor despicable--lazy and weak--not daring and trying hard enough. He may look pathetic and penniless, but his is God's true inheritance, God's true favor, which the rich have sold, like Esau did, like the prophet Balaam. 


And soon, God will bring you down.