Do Not Mock Your Brother (Obadiah 1:10-14)

June 16, 2024

Series: Summer Series

Book: Obadiah

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Do Not Mock Your Brother
June 16, 2024
Bethany ARP Church
Obadiah 10-14
Rev. Benjamin Glaser

The words to which I’d like to call your attention to this morning come to us from the words of the prophet Obadiah. So I invite you to stand for the reading of God’s word this morning from Obadiah chapter 1 verses 10 through 14. Again, let us stand for the reading of God’s word.
Here’s the word of the Lord, Obadiah chapter 1 beginning there at verse 10.

For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. 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 locks for Jerusalem, even you were as one of them. But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother and the day of his captivity, nor should you have rejoiced of the children of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of my people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped, nor should you have delivered up those who remain in the day of distress. Amen.

Thanks be to God for reading it holy in this perfect word.

Let us pray.

Gracious Heavenly Father, we give thanks again for the nature of your truth, for the way that the words of Holy Scripture are given in power and in glory, that we might be at rest in your revelation, and that we might be at peace in the comforting knowledge that you are our God and that we are your people. And in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Please be seated.

As we’ve been walking through the Book of Obadiah, there is one thing that the Prophet has made abundantly clear for those with ears to hear. And it’s that it makes all the difference in the world if God, Jehovah, is your God or if he’s not. The message of Obadiah 1:10-14 is that God has a special place in his providence for his covenant people. Now in the Old Testament we know that that was the Jewish people. That was the sons and daughters of Abraham. And the good news is, is that in the New Testament it’s still Israel, which is the covenant people of God. But we have to kind of clarify what we mean by that Jesus is very clear in the Gospels that we are Israel. That the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is Israel. That we are the heirs according to the promises made to our Father Abraham. Now again, how does that work? How does the Church not so much become Israel but maintain those promises? And that’s a good question because when we hear the word Jews, who do we think about? Well, first of all, in 2024 we think about people who live in the nation state of Israel on the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

And it’s true that there are Jews there. People who are physically descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Whether they be Sephardic Jews or whether they be Ashkenazi or some other kind of Jew. And some of them have no relation whatsoever to the Israelite people. And so when we talk about Jews, we have to be careful that we speak correctly and biblically about that nature. Because remember, what does Jesus say about the Jews in John chapter 8? These are physical Jews, these are fleshly Jews, blood Jews, if you want to put it that way. I wouldn’t, but some people use that kind of language. And Jesus there is very clear that the Jews of his day have forsaken the covenant promises. They have been cut off from them. And they have done so because they’re covenant breakers. Because they have chosen not Jehovah to be their father, but they have chosen the devil to be their father. And so as Jesus is explaining the gospel to the Jews and the Gentiles, he tells us that there is one vine. There is the true vine, which is Jesus Christ himself. And that there are those who are a naturally product of the vine and that there are those who are grafted into the vine. And we who are Gentiles, we have been grafted into the vine. Now, many of you all have done this in your agricultural exploits, your gardening, right? You have taken one plant, you have cut off a branch, you have taken it to another plant, and you have made a little incision there, and you have tied that branch to the other tree. And over time, what does it become? It becomes a natural part of that new vine, that vine that it was not a natural part of. And that’s how we understand the nature of our relationship to Israel as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been grafted into the one vine.

The problem is that the Jews, again, we are talking here about the ethnic Jews of the first century, they have been cut off from that vine. Jesus tells the Gentiles and warns them that they need to learn from the example of Israel. They need to watch and see how God has cut off the natural vine, because if we are grafted in, what can happen to us? The Scriptures tell us that we ourselves, who are not natural, but grafted in, can also be cut off. Now that’s a warning, it’s a stark warning. It’s one that Paul brings up in the book of Hebrews a couple of different times. It’s something that’s central to Paul’s preaching in the book of Acts, to Peter’s preaching in the book of Acts, that everyone needs to understand the difference between Israel and true Israel. Romans chapter 9, Paul there speaks at length about the difference between those who are of Israel and those who are in Israel. Again, using that language of grafting in, of being a spiritual member of a part of the true vine who is Jesus Christ is important.

Now this passage, you know, but in chapter 1, verses 10 through 14, is a judgment against Edom. Remember Edom are the sons of Esau, who had broken the covenant many generations before. And Edom, Esau had been cut off from the covenant. They had been removed from the promise. And they had spent their entire existence seeking to destroy those who were part of the true vine. The men and women of the northern and southern kingdoms at this point. And as we read the book of Obadiah, again, we have to ask ourselves, well, what does this have to do with us? As far as I know, there’s not a big conglomerate of Edomites hanging around Clover, South Carolina. Now there might be, right? I’ve only lived here seven years. There might be some secret, you know, thing around here that I don’t know about. But I’m pretty confident in saying there’s not a bunch of Edomites here. However, when we think about the application of this verse, this judgment of Edomites, remember who is not spoken about here. The people aren’t speaking, spoken about here are the people who also have received judgment from the Lord. I remember this is a time in which the northern kingdom is being destroyed by the Assyrians. The northern kingdom whom God had warned over and over again to repent of their sin, to turn away from their love of idolatry, to turn away from their love of Baal and Ashtoreth and all the wickedness of the nations. And God had called the Assyrians to come and to take the northern tribes into the diaspora. And to take them out into the nations. And here God is judging Edom for their joy in the judgment that’s coming down upon Israel. And he’s telling them that they shouldn’t be judging Israel because who is a member of the covenant and who is not.

Israel is a covenant member and Edom is not.

And Edom should not be seeking to rejoice in the death and destruction of God’s people. Rather, they should be seeing the judgment upon Israel and they themselves should repent and turn back unto the God of Israel. Because if God has treated his covenant people in this way, how much more so will the judgment be upon those outside the covenants? Solomon in the book of Proverbs tells us that we are not to rejoice at the death of the wicked. But rather we are to lament at the death of the wicked. And the simple reason for that is because what do we deserve? Do we not deserve likewise the same punishment that comes upon unbelief, the same judgment that comes upon covenant breakers? Because what are we but sinners in need of saving? Who are we but those who deserve the judgment of God for our sins? But what has happened? In the gospel of Jesus Christ, the wrath of God which has been pouring down from heaven upon the very Son of the Living God at the cross. He has borne the wrath due to us for our sin and because of that, that wrath has been taken away from us. That wrath has been assuaged, right? It has been paid for by the blood of our Savior.

And so as Obadiah is preaching this word to the Edomites, he has again a word not just for the enemies of God, but he has a word for the friends of God as well. Neither are the Edomites to rejoice, but also they are to mourn. Because the same judgment is coming down upon them. Go with me there to verse 10 as we begin to look more deeply at this passage this morning again. Obadiah chapter 1 verse 10 says, for violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever. That sounds pretty serious. It sounds pretty direct brothers and sisters. It is direct and it is pretty serious. For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall come over you. Now the type of violence the Edom projects against Israel is more what we would call a sin of omission. They are not the Assyrians, the Edomites aren’t the ones actually chopping the heads off the Israelites. The Edomites aren’t the ones who are actually doing the work of rounding up the people of Israel and taking them into the other kingdoms. Rather we hear in this passage that they are kind of blocking and tackling for the Assyrians. One of the things of course that if somebody who is a good tackle or a good guard or a center on the football field, it’s not their job to score touchdowns, is it? That’s why we make such a big deal when some big 6’7” 330 pound guy catches a pass in the end zone, right? Because that’s not supposed to happen. The short skinny fast guy is supposed to score all the touchdowns, but any championship football coach will tell you where does the championship begin? It begins in the trenches, right? It begins with the big guys up front. Because they’re the ones who allow the men to get outside and get in the end zone and they play a very important role. What we see here by chapter 1 really is that’s what Edom has been for the Assyrians.

They have been opening the gates. They have been blocking the crossroads. They have been providing access to the lands of Israel so that the army of Assyria can come in and destroy. And just like the Super Bowl ring that a lineman gets is just as big as the quarterback, they are receiving the same judgments because they have committed the same sin. They are receiving the same judgment because they have hated Israel just as much as Assyrians. For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever. The other nature part of this again is that Obadiah is reminding the people of Edom that Jacob is their brother. That they are related to one another. Brothers and sisters in Christ, again we see the application here that we are to love our brother more than ourselves. We are to not hate our brother. We are not to seek the destruction of our brother. We are not to rejoice when our brother falls. We are not to be happy when trouble comes upon those whom God has given to us to love. The apostle John makes it abundantly clear. In 1 John 4.20 he says, if someone says I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

The summary of the second table of all that Jesus gives is we are to love what? Our neighbors as ourselves. And if you are going through difficulty, if you are struggling, if you are facing judgment yourselves, and all you see is your brothers and sisters and your neighbors mocking and rejoicing, how does that make you feel? Well, put yourself on the other side. If you see your brother stumbling, what are you there then to do? Are you to rejoice in his trouble? No, you are to come alongside and you are to lift them up. You are to come alongside. You are to pray for them. You are to seek their better. You are to come alongside them in mercy and in love and in grace. They might be lifted up from their tribe. The Proverbs in Proverbs 10-12 tells us that hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. Proverbs 19-11, the discretion of a man makes him slow to anger and his glory is to overlook a transgression. Now, in this testimony of Proverbs 19-11, overlooking a transgression is not acting like it didn’t happen. We don’t love someone by ignoring their bad decisions. We don’t love someone by encouraging them to sin. We don’t love someone by allowing them to hurt themselves. But we also don’t stand over them and say, See, I told you so when they fall. That’s not the attitude by which God is even coming to the Edomites here. That’s not the attitude that Christ himself shows to those who seek his destruction. My Father forgive them for they know not what they do. Does that mean that everybody who heard that got saved that day? No. There were a lot of people who went to hell who heard Jesus say those words. But again, the attitude that Jesus has there is witness to us and the Sermon on the Mount, right? Matthew 5:44, “but I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Now, why is that to be our attitude to those who do wicked things unto us? Because what should we desire of the lost? We should desire that the lost are no longer lost.

Our desire should be that those who hate us should become our brothers. Those who seek our destruction should no longer be our enemies, but be our friends. And if we are wicked unto them, are they going to desire to be with us? And the answer is no. It’s not to say again that we cast aside the hard sayings of the Scriptures, because that’s what people usually do, right? When they want to win somebody, they take away all the stuff that they may not like in order that they might come and be a friend. But that’s not what Jesus does, is it? When Jesus loves the Pharisees, how does he love them? He calls them hypocrites. He calls them whitewashed tombs. He calls them vipers. Now, we don’t usually associate that kind of language with love, but if Jesus does it, can we say that it’s wrong? Well, no. Honesty truly is the best policy. But again, if you are seeking to win your brother, sometimes again you’re going to have to be forthright within. Warn them about the judgment that is to come. And God here is being perfectly open with the people at Edom about the judgment that is coming upon them. For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. 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 through Jerusalem, even you were as one of them. Again, just because Edom wasn’t carrying away the spoils, doesn’t mean they didn’t benefit from it.

Or that they’re not responsible again for the judgment that has come down. The Scriptures tell us that we are to be especially careful to provide for the needs of a brother. In fact, the Book of Galatians tells us that we are to provide for the needs of the brothers first before we go out and help those outside of the church. And why is that? Again, the Scriptures understand that the relationship that we have with those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is a unity in Jesus Christ. It is one in the same. And so to help a brother really is to help yourself. I’ll go back a second to that summary of the law. What does it say, love your neighbor as well? As yourself. Before you can love your neighbor, who do you need to love? You need to love yourself. The way we understand that, the way that Jesus understands that, is that we first need to understand who we are in Jesus Christ before we can share the love of the Savior with others. We need to understand in our own heart what it means to be forgiven of sin. We need to understand in our own hearts what it means to be united to Christ by faith. We need to understand in our own hearts what our relationship with our Heavenly Father is. And every time Paul is challenged as to why he’s going and doing this, why he’s preaching the gospel, why he has forsaken his former manner of life, he is very careful to tell everyone he was a wicked and evil sinner and Jesus came to me on the road to Damascus and now I have been called to serve him, to love him, to care for his people and to proclaim the word of truth.

Again, he desires the salvation of those who seek his life because he used to be one who sought the lives of others. He used to be the one who hated the Christian. He was the one leading murder gangs into the city of Damascus, but God had mercy upon him. Matthew 6.14-15, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Now, there’s not a quid pro quo going on here in Matthew 6. What Jesus is saying is, is that unless you understand what forgiveness is, then you will never desire to forgive anyone else. Because if you truly understand the nature of your own sin, your own transgressions, your own evil against the living God, then you will never understand why you need to show grace to those who do likewise. Because if God has saved you, what makes you think he can’t save your enemy? For remember, all of us were somebody’s enemy. You know, all of us were somebody’s person that they looked at and said, I can’t believe that person. Look what they do. Look how they live their life. Look how they do this. Look how they do that. But what has God done but had mercy upon you a sinner? And so when you go to God in prayer, do you look up as the Pharisee does and say, thank you, good God, that you do not make me like that person over there? No, what does the public can do? He throws himself in his face and says, God, have mercy upon me a sinner.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking put away from you with all malice and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.“ That’s what Paul says in Ephesians 4, 31, and 32. And so, Edom, hear the word of the prophet. For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you and you shall be cut off forever in the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried captives’ 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 of the children of Judah in the day of their destruction.

This is one of the great temptations that we have every day.

How many times have you heard of the misfortune of someone and then gotten on the Facebook and tried to do a little discovery work, a little investigative work to see what’s happening and to see what’s going on? And be honest with yourselves, are you doing that in order that you might pray for that individual? Are you doing that in order that you might find information that you can bring to the attention of the Lord, or are you doing so that you might rejoice in the dysfunction of someone else’s family? This is a great danger, of course, that we have. That’s what Edom was doing with Israel. Obviously Facebook didn’t exist back then, but if it did, they would have done the same thing. They saw all the status updates from people in Israel talking about the Assyrians coming into their homes. They saw all the rabid tweets of the people of Israel warning others about the Assyrians coming in and doing all these evil things. And Edom couldn’t wait to hit that retweet button. Couldn’t wait to let everybody know about the misfortune of the people of Israel. And they’re being judged for that. You should not have entered the gate of my people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their reflection in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among those who escaped, nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the day of distress.

And again, the testimony here that we also need to be reminded in a positive sense is God cares about Israel. God loves Israel. God is sending Obadiah to say these words because he loves his people. That’s a positive aspect of our membership in the covenant family of God, is that God cares for us, he loves us, he provides for us, and he desires that no harm should come upon us
even in the day of judgment. God watches over his covenant people. You know, in Sabbath school this morning we went through Hosea 13 and 14, and Hosea 13 and 14 is a testimony that God is going to save Israel. That just because they have entered into this judgment, they have not been forsaken nor forgotten of God. You know, Hosea 14 is a beautiful testimony of the nature of God’s work even in the midst of judgment in his covenant people. You know, there in the 14th chapter we hear Hosea preaching to the northern kingdom, oh Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord, say to him, take away all iniquity, receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips, as Syria will not save us, we will not ride on horses nor will we say any more to the work of our hands, you are our God, for in you the fatherless finds mercy. When Hosea says there in verse 2, that they are to take words with them into captivity, the words that they are to take with them that are written on their heart is that God has not forgotten nor forsaken them. That God in his day of justice and his day of glory will bring his people back into the land of promise. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for my anger has turned away from him, I will be like the dude to Israel, he shall grow like the lily and lengthen his roots like Lebanon, his branches shall fret, his beauty shall be like an olive tree and his fragrance like Lebanon.

These are the words that Israel is meant to hide in their heart as they go off into exile. That the day will come where God will bring them back into the fold. And that gets us back to something I said at the very beginning. What about Israel? What about the Jews? What about our brothers in the faith? The brothers of the covenant we should say better. What does God have in store for fleshly Israel, even in our future? We know that he has cut them off from the covenant in the day of judgment in AD 70. We know that he has cut them off because they have rejected the Messiah. But what is the promise of Holy Scripture? Again, the promise that we see here in Obadiah chapter 1 is fulfilled in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only because he is the Savior, he is the one who saves men from their sins, whether you are Jew or Greek, whether you’re male or female, whether you’re slave or free, all are won in Christ Jesus. Again, God still has a plan for ethnic Israel, still has a plan for these people whom he loves. He says in the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 11, God has not cast away his people whom he foreknew, or do you not know what the Scripture says in Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel saying, Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I am alone alone when they seek my life. But what does the divine response say to him? I reserve for myself 7,000 men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Even so then, at this present time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace there is no longer of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace, but if it is of works, it is no longer grace, otherwise work is no longer work.

But then, in the promises is that in the future, God will save ethnic Israel. He will bring them back into the church. And so one of the lessons we’re meant to learn about in chapter 11 as we come near a close this morning is that we, as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, should not forsake nor forget our Jewish brothers. We who are Edom, we who are Gentiles, saved by the love of God, saved by the grace of God, we are called to do what? We are called to go to our Jewish neighbors and proclaim to them the word of salvation. For God saves Israel. God loves Israel. God cares for Israel. Now, to be sure, when I say that, I’m not talking about Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. I’m talking about the people of Israel. Like fleshly Israel. God has a plan for a national state of Israel, the same plan He has for the United States, the same plan He has for the United Kingdom, the same plan He has for Russia, the same plan He has for Ukraine. Every nation under heaven is called to bow the knee to Jesus Christ. And as long as a nation denies the kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ, then judgment will be their name. But we have to separate a little bit here, because Obadiah is telling us to. And we are called to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to lost Israel, to the nations, to where they have fled, to the nations where they have turned, so that they might come to know the same peace and comfort that we have in our glorious Savior. For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, in returning and rest, you shall be saved, in quietness and calmness shall be your strength.

Again, this is the promise that we see in Obadiah chapter 1, and the verses of which we read today. Again, we are meant to hear and to be warned about a couple of things. First of all, that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are not to rejoice at the death of the wicked. We are not to rejoice when those who are enemies face difficulty, but we are to reach out in Christian love, and we are to love them as Christ has loved us. We are to pray for them. We are to seek their better. And those who are fighting against the gospel of Jesus Christ, well, we are to reach out to them with the gospel for Jesus, for give sinners, and such were some of you. But what does 1 Corinthians chapter 6 tell us? But that, therefore, you who used to be idolaters, who used to be sodomites, who used to be homosexuals, who used to be the thieves, who used to be covenant breakers, who used to be all these things, what has happened, that the grace of God is called upon you, and you have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, you have been made by the creatures in Jesus Christ, you are no longer who you were, you are now to be identified as the people of God. And the promises of the covenant are yours, but now and forevermore in Jesus Christ. For the wages of sin is death, for the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Again, the gospel is the foundation for everything that we do every single day. We love our neighbor because Christ loved us. We love those who hate Jesus, because Jesus loved us even when we hated Him. And we have received the benefit, the blessing of this covenant gift, and let us show forth that same covenant gift to our brothers and sisters in the flesh, as much as we show it to our brothers and sisters in the Spirit. He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God, but this day and forevermore.

Amen, and let’s pray.