Covid 19: Reflections from the Prophet Obadiah

Obadiah, “servant of the Lord,” is the smallest Old Testament book, but it has a monumental message on how to treat others, especially those with whom we are at odds.  [Philemon has a similar message in the New Testament.]  The history of this prophecy goes back centuries to the birth of twins in Genesis 25-36.  Jacob and Esau came out of the womb fighting.  Jacob became the ancestor of Israel, and Esau the ancestor of Edom.  Theirs was a history of warring and rivalry.  As Israel was threatened by the Assyrians and Judah by the Babylonians, the people of Edom did nothing except gloat and help facilitate the downfall and calamity of their brothers. (vv11-14) 

Even as our lives are threatened by the unseen, our culture continues its decline into a state of condemnation, competition, and criticism rather than being cooperative, collaborative, and compassionate.  We seem motivated by revenge instead of by restoration. 

As citizens of God’s kingdom, let us seek to walk in a new context, with a new motivation and a new vocation.  Let us continually rehearse God’s sovereign control, let us recognize our deceptions and delusions, and let us represent the grace and mercy of God by initiating love toward others. (v21)