READ: Obadiah. The whole book. All 21 verses. 🙂

BACKGROUND: Obadiah’s prophecy is against the nation of Edom. He condemns them for watching the judgment and the misfortunes that befell Israel and rejoicing at them, and he assures Edom that it, too will be destroyed because of its wickedness.

The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, and they lived in constant conflict with Israel. They also were proud and self-assured because they believed that they couldn’t be conquered given their strategic location in Mount Seir and their capital, Petra, which could only be reached by going through a narrow canyon guarded by tall mountain walls on either side.

THINK: Reread verses 12-14 from The Message slowly, remembering that they celebrated the demise of Israel:

“You shouldn’t have talked so big
when everything was so bad.
You shouldn’t have taken advantage of my people
when their lives had fallen apart.
You of all people should not have been amused
by their troubles, their wrecked nation.
You shouldn’t have taken the shirt off their back
when they were knocked flat, defenseless.
And you shouldn’t have stood waiting at the outskirts
and cut off refugees,
And traitorously turned in helpless survivors
who had lost everything.”

Put yourself in the place of the nation of Edom. You’ve had an ancient feud with the Israelites, and they are your bitter enemies. Politics are politics – enemy nations do not help each other . Right? Now read the passage again, with its very different viewpoint. Hear God’s radical response to Edom’s very normal behavior.

God’s odd stance has been stated another way in 1 Corinthians 13:6: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” What role does the love of God play in political affairs? What role does the love of God play in how nations treat the people of the world whom God loves?

ASK: What does God’s love, and the prophecy of Obadiah mean for Christians in America as we deal with issues like the current political divisiveness of our fractured land? Or unmanned drone strikes that kill those whom our nation has identified as enemies – and occasionally innocent people who happen to be near them? Or the bloody drug cartel war happening just South of our border? Or…

PRAY: Ask God to help the nations of the world consider how they treat one another, especially nations who are ancient enemies. Pray for Christians who are actively inserting God’s love into international crises. Pray that God will help you have his heart for others, even those whom our country considers to be enemies.

LIVE: Stand in front of a world map or globe. Put your hand on a nation who has been an enemy of your nation. Pray for the people of that country. Pray for its leaders.

Adapted from Eugene Peterson in Solo

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