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As You Have Done to Israel - Part 1 - Shepherd of Hope

“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head” – Obadiah v. 15

 

 If you haven’t noticed, since the end of February early March our nation has experienced some very heavy blows. These hits have come in the form of Covid19 and civil unrest. The Covid19 virus hit us and everything was shut down. We were all quarantined and shut in, divided from one another (except for our immediate family units). We were told social distancing and human contact was necessary to keep us from contracting the virus. It’s been difficult, but we adjusted as best we could.

Then, just as we were beginning to get a bit of a handle on all the changes related to the virus and even thinking about regaining some freedoms, we were hit with an incident that resulted in a tremendous outpouring of first grief, then anger and chaotic rioting. On May 25th, George Floyd was murdered by a rogue policeman while being arrested. It was a terrible sight to see and it inflamed the passions of righteous indignation in our nation. People took to the streets to demonstrate. But soon peaceful demonstrators with a sincere desire to voice their opposition to such an injustice, were joined and in many cases replaced by Marxist revolutionary groups seizing the opportunity to bring insurrection and revolution to our nation.

The division coming from these two events continues to the present. Does anyone doubt that the November national election, regardless of outcome, will lead to further unrest and division?

Here’s my question in light of these developments. Why has this splitting, this fracturing, this division come upon our nation? Is there a root cause, possibly a singular linking cause to all of what has come upon us? I think there is.

I recently posted the following on social media. It serves as an introduction to our teaching in Obadiah.

As You Have Done to Israel – Something to Ponder

“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head” (Obadiah v. 15)

Something to ponder. On February 28, 2020 our nation’s diplomatic “Deal of the Century” plan for Israel and the Palestinians was unveiled. Though subtle, the plan involved dividing the land of Israel. Is this significant? Yes, I believe it is.

Now ask yourself, “when did the COVID-19 and George Floyd related demonstrations and rioting begin? When was our nation overcome with such division as we are seeing?” It all started days after the Deal was unveiled. I think a case can be made that our national division began in conspicuously close proximity to the divisive deal of the century. Just as we suggested Israel should divide, we are now divided. Is there a connection?

In the short single chapter minor prophetic book of Obadiah, God says this to those who would act against Israel:

“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head” (v.15). 

Interesting. It’s a short Bible book worth studying. We don’t know a lot about Obadiah. We aren’t even certain about when it was written. It may have been written the year after the fall of Jerusalem. The verse is a statement against those who act against Israel. This is a revelation from God. It’s in God’s word. Therefore, we should take it seriously, take it to heart.

Some will dismiss the above as a stretch in application. But even if there is a slight possibility that it applies to us today, why don’t we join in praying that our president, this administration, our government and nation affirm Israel’s unity and borders as is? Why don’t we pray for the Lord to speak to our government and nation to this end?

There are a lot of reasons for our nation’s splintering and chaos. Acts of injustice, insurrectionists inciting discord, fake/false news, political piranhas preying on its citizenry for their own profit, we could list a lot of other issues too. But one fundamental determinant to a nation’s welfare is how they treat Israel (cf. Genesis 12:1-3). Just ask the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Edomites of old. Just as England and the nations of the Middle East. Looking at our nation, history tells us it’s possible, that all these other divisive issues could be tied to this fundamental issue, “as you have done” to Israel. Something to consider.

JD Farag teaching on the Deal of the Century unveiled February 2020

In a Prophecy Update Pastor J.D. Farag of Calvary Chapel Kaneohe Hawaii made the following comments regarding the then recently unveiled Deal of the Century of the Trump Administration:

On Wednesday, I downloaded the 181-page plan and read through it prayerfully and carefully so as to sort through all the complexities of it. . .. I think I’d be grossly remiss were I not to preface this with Five Fast Facts of paramount importance:

– First, there’s no such thing as a Palestinian people, and as such, there’s no such thing as a State of Palestine.

– Second, the “so-called” Palestinian’s have no interest in a State with Israel – they seek only the total destruction of Israel. Back in July of 2000, then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, offered Yasser Arafat not only sovereignty over the Temple Mount, but he also offered him 75% of the Old City of Jerusalem. What was Arafat’s response?  He abruptly left the meeting with then President Bill Clinton, and commenced the bloody and deadly Al Aqsa Intifada. The death toll from the bombings and terrorist attacks is believed to be over 3,000 Arabs, and 1,000 Jews.

– Fast fact #3: The “so-called” Palestinians not only rejected 75% of Jerusalem in 2000, they rejected a State of Palestine starting back in 1937.

– Fourth, the Islamic claim that Jerusalem is a holy site, specifically Al Aqsa on the Temple Mount, is as illegitimate, as the religion of Islam is false.

– Fifth and finally, Jerusalem is, and will always be, the “legitimate” eternal capital of Israel only – as God’s name of ownership is on it literally/legitimately.

These are five factual truths that anyone assessing any Middle East “Deal” need to have firmly in mind and heart. JD then put up a screen shot of page 38 of the plan and explained:

“[There’s a] reason I’m highlighting and emphasizing the word “legitimately.” You’ll notice it’s under section twenty-one titled: END OF CLAIMS / END OF CONFLICT. Here’s what it says, and I quote: “The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement will end the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and end all claims between the parties.”

This brings us to the first conclusion, which is that of this still being a Two-State Solution. Here are a couple of excerpts from the plan – quoting from page 17 of the plan:

– “Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city. The sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier…”  “… The United States will recognize the State of Israel and the State of Palestine in their respective capitals and encourage other nations to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem and Al Quds, as applicable.”

This brings us to the first conclusion, which is that of this still being a Two-State Solution

The second conclusion is that Jerusalem still has no solution. Here are excerpts from pages 13-17:

– “Jerusalem is holy to multiple faiths and has religious significance for much of humanity. The issue of Jerusalem’s holy sites, particularly the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif should be treated with the utmost sensitivity.  …Jerusalem is a city unique in the history of civilization. No other place on earth can claim significance to three major religions. Each day, Jews pray at the Western Wall, Muslims bow in prayer at the al-Aqsa Mosque and Christians worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. … For Islam, Jerusalem acquires prominence as stated in the Holy Koran: “Glory to Him who made His Servant go by night from the Sacred Mosque (al-Masjid al-Haram) to the Farthest Mosque (al-Masjid al-Aqsa) whose surroundings We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs.”

According to Islamic tradition, the verse refers to the Prophet Muhammad’s nocturnal journey from Mecca to Jerusalem; he arrives at the area of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, where he ascends to Heaven to meet the earlier prophets and receive the commandment of prayer.

This brings us to the first question of whether or not this is the peace plan in Daniel’s prophecy?

– Daniel 9:27 – He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

I’m going to answer this question, this way – yes and no, and or not yet. This because, nothing has yet been “confirmed” or even agreed to. Moreover, Daniel’s prophecy contains specificity concerning the timeline that “many” will agree to, which is for a total of 7-years. Be that as it may, I personally believe this peace plan may be that which is already in place for the anti-Christ to subsequently “confirm.”

This brings us to the second question I would like to answer: Is this a fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy?

Zechariah 12:1–3 -A prophecy: The word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.

Here again, I have to answer this the same way, “yes and no, and or, not yet.” Again, nothing has been “confirmed” or agreed to as of yet, but to me, Trump’s peace plan does seem to divide Jerusalem.

Then JD says this:

 Time will tell, as anyone who tries to divide Jerusalem will themselves be divided. If this is indeed Trumps intention, then we will likely witness the dividing of the United States, hmm!

J.D. gives some final thoughts, but his words have proved prophetic. “Time will tell, as anyone who tries to divide Jerusalem will themselves be divided. If this is indeed Trumps intention, then we will likely witness the dividing of the United States, hmm!” That was a prophetic word in a Prophecy Update by JD Farag. [1]

The Danger of Dividing Israel

Does God, in His word, prohibit dividing the Land of Israel? Yes, He does! And the context God uses for prohibiting the division of the Land of Israel is one of judgment.

In the book of Joel, in a prophetic word pertaining to the “those days,” or the Last Days, Joel is inspired to write:

  • Joel 3:1–3 – “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land. 3 They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy as payment for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.

 We are living in days when Jews are returning to Israel. This has been the case for well over 100 years now. What God says through Joel is happening now. The Valley of Jehoshaphat is a place of judgement. And the reason for God’s judgment on “all nations: is because of their mistreatment of God’s people, in particular “they have also divided up My land.” Interestingly, verse three seems to be referring to some kind of human trafficking, i.e. “given a boy as payment for a harlot.” Human trafficking is a hot topic of our day being more and more exposed and dealt with around the world.

God here very specifically speaks of judgement for those who have “divided My land.” That’s something we and people generally overlook. THE LAND BELONGS TO GOD. God in His word states emphatically, “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me” (Leviticus 25:23).

Therefore, any “Deal” relating to Israel had better walk softly and reconsider any idea of dividing the Land of Israel. It is not Israel’s Land to give away. It is not anyone else’s Land to carve up. For those who disregard such clear statements of ownership by God, be ready to be divided up yourself as a consequence.

The United States has traditionally been an ally of Israel and visa versa. The Trump administration was the first administration to follow through and moving its embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the City as the capital of Israel. We have supported Israel diplomatically and in trade agreements. We’ve been supportive of Israel in many ways. And I believe because of that we have been blessed. There’s evidence historically that when we act favorably to Israel we are blessed, and when we act dis-favorably to Israel we are negatively affected. But judging by the division of our land, I believe too we very well might have overstepped our bounds in proposing what seems to be a land for peace deal. And I further believe we are suffering the divisive consequences as a result. There are consequences to how we deal with Israel and the Promised Land. [2]

Now, if we are to suffer a similar consequence to what we do to Israel, and division is that consequence, that is terribly important. Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25; cf. also Mark 3:24; Luke 11:17). If we do not do something about our national division, we “will not stand.”

The Root of this Prophetic Problem – PRIDE

What’s at the root of the prophetic problem as it relates to Israel? Let’s look at the book of Obadiah and its 21 verses.

Obadiah 1 – “The vision of Obadiah.  Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom (We have heard a report from the Lord, and a messenger has been sent among the nations, saying, “Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle”):”

The name Obadiah means literally, servant, or worshipper of the LORD. But other than that, we know little about this prophet. There are twelve other men named Obadiah in the Bible, but since we have no personal information about the author in this book, we cannot associate this Obadiah with any of the others mentioned in the Bible.

The authority of this book is based on the phrase, “Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom” which tells us that this prophecy is from the LORD. Obadiah also says, “we have heard a report from the LORD” which further bears witness that this message is inspired from God. If this is a message form God, we need to pay close attention to it.

Because the author is unknown other than his name, it makes dating the book difficult as well. Critics tend to date Obadiah in the 6th century B.C. More conservative scholars tend to date the book in the 8th century B.C. The King James Version Bible Commentary makes the following statement regarding the date of this book:

The prophecy is elastic enough in its fulfillment to embrace all of the times of Edom’s destruction, whether by the Chaldeans who laid Edom waste (Jeremiah 49:7ff.; Ezekiel 35), the Maccabees, Rome (a.d. 70), or ultimately when Christ executes the judgment of God upon Edom and her allies (Isaiah 63:1–6).[3]

The roots of Edom’s hatred of Israel. Who were the Edomites? The Edomites were the descendants of Esau who was the fraternal twin brother of Jacob (Genesis 25; 36:9). Because Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright and blessing, a perpetual animosity existed between the descendants of these two brothers (Genesis 25; 27). Of course, Esau’s lack of care concerning the birthright makes him culpable for its forfeiture at such a small price. He should have appreciated the importance and value of his birthright. The birthright gave him the privileged position of priests of the household. But Esau didn’t apparently care much for that. Hence, he was easy prey for Jacob who very much understood the value of the birthright. (Well, at least Rebekah knew how important the birthright was. There does seem to have been reconciliation between the two brothers themselves (Genesis 33.) But the same is not true for their descendants.

The Edomites; a perpetual enemy of God’s people. The descendants of Esau stewed perpetually in a root of bitterness toward their cousins. The Bible says a root of bitterness defiles many (Hebrews 12:15). An example of this longstanding feud between the two groups is seen in Numbers 20:14-21 when Edom refuses to allow Moses and the Israelites to pass through the land of Edom on the way to the Promised Land of Canaan. The Edomites went out of their way to make things harder for the Israelites. For this God promised judgment.

The hatred of Edom for Israel. The Edomites were perennial enemies of Israel. This is stated by Ezekiel who wrote:

  • Ezekiel 35:5-7 – “Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end,6 “therefore, as I live,” says the Lord God, “I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you.7 “Thus I will make Mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it the one who leaves and the one who returns.”  (See also 1 Samuel 14:27)

The Edomites were idolatrous (2 Chronicles 14,20), into the occult (Jeremiah 27:3,9) and a vengeful people (Ezekiel 25:12). But above all, what we will see in Obadiah is that they were proud. The LORD inspires Obadiah to state pride was at the root of all their sinful behavior.

Obadiah 2-3 – “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised.3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’”

“The pride of your heart.” The LORD through Obadiah identifies “the pride of your heart” as the main root problem here. Pride, as we will see, is a terrible thing. The Bible states that pride flows from an unsaved, sinful heart that is infested with evil. This is what Jesus said:

  • Mark 7:21-22 – “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.”

Pride is the primary characteristic of the world. The nature of the world is that everything revolves around self. Those who live in the pride of the world see the world revolving around them; they live as though they were the center of the universe.

The apostle John stated the connection between the world and pride when he wrote:

  • 1 John 2:16-17 – “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Why is the world in the mess it is in? Because it is filled with people who think they are the center of the universe. This self–centered view of the world is the basis of why people turn a blind eye to the needy as they indulge their fleshly desires. We will get into this deeper later on in our study.

Pride – What is it?

“The pride of your heart,” is what Obadiah is inspired to pinpoint as the reason for God’s judgment coming upon the Edomites. What is “pride”? “Pride” here is a translation of the Hebrew term zadown (pronounced ZAW-DONE). This term occurs only 11 times in the Bible and means, “pride, insolence, presumptuousness, arrogance.” [4] Insolence is excessive haughtiness, a disregard for others, to be overbearing, domineering. Presumption is an overstepping of proper bounds, taking something for granted, taking something beforehand, assuming something is yours before it actually is. Arrogance is being pretentious, acting superior to others, being overbearing. Put it all together and it’s not a very pretty picture. The proud person shows their pride in that they overlook such attributes in themselves, but find them repulsive in others. But most importantly, God finds pride and all its trappings repulsive. The people of Edom were characterized by these attributes and this sinful attitude is what eventually brought God’s judgment upon them.

It was because of pride that the Edomites refused to forgive the Israelites.  Pride is an obsession with self and when the self is unable to get what it wants it gets mad. When the self is deprived of what it wants, hatred brews. This is what happened with the Edomites, their pride kindled a hatred for Israel.  So intense was their hatred of Israel that they were willing to join forces with Israel’s enemies in an attempt to destroy Israel (2 Chronicles 20:10). That is most severely seen when Edom helped Babylon against Israel (Psalm 137:7). Pride causes people to do some terrible things, one of which is the wedge it creates between those in one’s own family. Jesus spoke of a time when one’s enemies would be members of their own household (Matthew 10:34-39). Pride no doubt will be a big part of this.

The primary reason God is pronouncing judgment upon the Edomites through Obadiah is that they were proud. You might say, “So what? What’s the big deal about pride? Aren’t we all a little proud?” Let’s look a little deeper at pride and see why it is such a big deal with God.

The Origin of Pride – Lucifer

The Bible has a lot to say about pride and none of it is good. To begin with, Satan/Lucifer is the author of pride. His rebellion against God was fueled by a heart that was proud and lifted up against God. Isaiah wrote concerning the pride of Lucifer:

  • Isaiah 14:13-15 – “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.”

In Lucifer we see the deceptive nature of pride in that it deceived a created being to think he could ascend to the throne of His Creator. This is the height of deception. Pride blinds to the truth and reality of a situation. Pride blinds a person to their proper position and this is most clearly seen in the life of Satan. Pride exalts self-assessment to the point of delusion and ultimately self-destruction.

The Putrid Products of Pride

What does pride produce? The Bible is clear on the products of pride. The following are some examples of what pride produces.

First, pride produces spiritual blindness. The Bible states:

  • Hosea 7:9-10 – “Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, Yet he does not know it.10 And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, But they do not return to the Lord their God, Nor seek Him for all this.”

Hosea speaks of the sinful pride of God’s people. He speaks of the blinding effects of pride. God reaches out to His people and often has to let them bottom out or exhaust their alternatives to faith in Him because they are too proud to admit they are wrong and sinful. Sometimes people persist in their pride unto death and that results in spiritual death for eternity.

Second, pride produces hopeless foolishness. The Bible says:

  • Proverbs 26:12 – “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

A fool is one who fails to factor God into their life equation. A proud fool is one who fails to factor God into their life equation because they think they know better than God and His word. Pride leads a person to rely on themselves and that is always a hopeless foolish place with no future other than a future without God.

Third, pride keeps people from seeking God. The Bible says:

  • Psalm 10:4 – “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

The person who is proud says, “I don’t need God.” They often refer to God as a crutch. The problem with such a view is that everyone has a crutch. It might be money, a job, a career, a person, but everyone has a crutch. The question is, “What is the most reliable crutch?” God is and pride keeps people from seeking God, the One they most need to know.

Fourth, pride causes people to reject God’s word. The Bible says:

  • Jeremiah 43:2 – “that Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men spoke, saying to Jeremiah, “You speak falsely! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to dwell there.’”

Jeremiah was called by God and inspired to bring a message to God’s people. But when that word from God didn’t meet with their liking, they proudly rejected it. That is what pride will do; it will cause a person to think they know better than God. Pride will cause a person to think they are the exception to God’s word. Pride will ultimately cause a person to reject God’s word.

There are those who are willing to disregard God’s revealed truth for the sake of other loyalties. There are those more loyal to a political party, than to God and His word. Proof? In the last election, were you willing to turn a blind eye to voting for a candidate who supports the murder of babies in the womb, just to remain true to your party? Think about that decision next time you are around a baby. There is a candidate today that goes even further stating he supports the “right” to allow a baby to die after birth when they are delivered alive because of a botched abortion. Would you vote for such a candidate? If so, you are in the throes of pride.

Fifth, pride deceives. The Bible says:

  • Jeremiah 49:16 – “Your fierceness has deceived you, the pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,” says the Lord.”

The people Jeremiah spoke to were fiercely opposed to his message and they were so because of pride. They were fiercely depended on their own protections. And it ultimately led to their demise. We will see a very similar statement made by Obadiah against the Edomites. Pride deceives a person into thinking they are stronger and more capable than they really are. This only leads to frustration and disappointment when the inevitable failure comes.

Sixth, pride destroys.

  • Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

The end product of pride is life without God; a wasted life; destruction. Pride causes a person to think they don’t need God and that leads to ultimate eternal destruction. The same could be true for a nation. The nation that is proudly self-reliant to the neglect of God, will ultimately find themselves on the wrong end of the judgment of God. Take a look at the last book of the Bible. It’s all laid out quite clearly there. Pride leads to destruction.

Seventh, the height of pride is to see oneself as righteous on one’s own merits. Jesus referred to this when gave the illustration of the two men praying, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector, the later the most hated of individuals in that society in that day. He said:

  • Luke 18:11-14 – “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.12 ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’13 “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’14 “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Since all people fall short of God’s glorious ideal necessary to gain access into heaven (Romans 3:23), it is essential to experience God’s grace to be saved. The person who proudly relies upon their own merits and works will ultimately fall far short of what is needed to be saved and is in danger of entering a place of eternal separation from God.

The Ultimate Price of Pride

The ultimate price of pride is that it prevents a person from experiencing God’s grace. The ultimate problem of pride is that it puts the proud in a position where their opponent is God. The Bible states:

  • James 4:5-6 – “Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
  • 1 Peter 5:5 – “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

To be separated from God and His grace is a very dangerous place to be. Apart from God’s grace, any attempt to access heaven in one’s own strength requires absolute perfect obedience. Without God’s grace, we are lost. And if a person persists in grace rejecting pride, their eternal destiny is hell.

The Bible calls this “being under the works of the Law.” On your own, you must keep every Law of God all the time, throughout your life without one mistake. Ever lied? Ever had an evil or lustful thought? Ever stole? Been to church at every opportunity? Worshipped God and Him only, giving Him total priority in your life? Loved your neighbor as yourself always? Loved God with all your heart always? If you answered “No,” to any of these questions and you are trying to get to heaven on your own, apart from faith in Jesus Christ alone, you’re sunk. Read what the apostle Paul said about this:

  • Galatians 3:10-13 – “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),”

Jesus is the only way friend. You have to humble yourself before the LORD and put your faith in Christ alone. Now I can imagine some might say, “Ah, I don’t believe God would send me to hell for messing up a few times.” That is pride speaking friend. Pride says, “I know better than God.”  Pride says, “I don’t need God’s word or warning, I’ll take my chances on my own.” Be warned proud friend, there will be a heavy price to pay for your pride if you persist in that proud perspective on life. You need God’s grace. We all need God’s grace. The proud will not receive it, only the humble will.

The Signs of Proud Living

The signs of proud living are clear to see. The price of proud living is steep and the end is poverty. It’s always a mistake to put one’s faith proudly in yourself or things or other people. This is exactly what the Edomites did and they would wind up in the spiritual poor house as a result.

Pride in a Place. It says of the Edomites:

Obadiah 3-4 – “The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’4 Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,” says the Lord.”

These verses refer to the capitol of Edom, which was Petra (also known as Sela – Judges 1:36; 2 Kings 14:7). This city was situated in a high rock formation fifty miles south of the Dead Sea. It was accessible only through a single narrow passage one mile long and no more than 12 feet wide in any one place. The city is located in a gorge of the rock formation that measures approximately 3,000 feet wide and about a mile in length. The ruins were discovered in 1812. The Edomites viewed this city as impregnable. They gloried in this city in the rock. But God said, “I will bring you down.”

What about us? The United States of America is arguably the strongest nation on earth. But that can change in a heartbeat. If we proudly trust in our own ability, it will only lead to defeat. Look at how our nation has been brought to her knees in the months since the Deal of the Century. A house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25; Luke 11:17). We are on the brink! Beware.

The United States of America, despite what its critics would claim, is a wonderful place to live. It is a nation with a rich heritage with a great deal of godly Christian influence. It’s not a bad thing to be patriotic. However, patriotism should lead to gratefulness and gratitude. Patriotism should not lead to presumption and arrogant pride. What is true of the individual is true of nations – “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Pride in Possessions. The Edomites were proud of their possessions:

Obadiah 5-7 – “If thieves had come to you, if robbers by night—Oh, how you will be cut off! —Would they not have stolen till they had enough? If grape-gatherers had come to you, would they not have left some gleanings?6 “Oh, how Esau shall be searched out! How his hidden treasures shall be sought after!7 All the men in your confederacy Shall force you to the border; The men at peace with you Shall deceive you and prevail against you. Those who eat your bread shall lay a trap for you. No one is aware of it.”

The Edomites had invested heavily in the things of this world. It’s never a good idea to put a high priority on things that can be stolen or lost. The Edomites put pride in their possessions, but God says they will be picked clean of their possessions. Jesus taught on the proper perspective on possessions when He said:

  • Matthew 6:19-21,24,31-34 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . . . 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. . .. 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

America is one of the most, if not the most, blessed places on earth. It is a land of freedom. It is the place of the American Dream where anyone willing to work hard can fulfill their dreams. Having said that, we should never allow our possessions and wealth to lead to self-reliant or self-absorbed pride in the things we accumulate in this world.

Pride in Professionals. The Edomites were proud of themselves and their own achievements. Obadiah is inspired to write:

Obadiah 8-9 – “Will I not in that day,” says the Lord, “Even destroy the wise men from Edom, And understanding from the mountains of Esau?9 Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, To the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau May be cut off by slaughter.”

Teman, one of the three major cities of Edom (along with Bozrah and Petra) was a center of intellectualism and learning in this part of the world. It’s never wise to proudly trust in your own understanding. It always leads to disappointment and even destruction.

There is nothing wrong with being a professional, society needs professionals. But professionalism, the proud dependence upon people highly trained can create a situation where people no longer seek God for answers and help but turn to people instead. Professionals are good and useful in their place, but we should never trust proudly in people rather than humble ourselves before God (1 Peter 5:6). Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.

What about us? Could this be a pride in our scientists or medical professionals? Could this be a pride in our military? We are blessed in all these areas, but our humble hope must always be primarily in God.

A Pride that is Appallingly loveless. Obadiah continues:

Obadiah 10-14 – “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever.11 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 for Jerusalem—Even you were as one of them.12 But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother In the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah In the day of their destruction; Nor should you have spoken proudly In the day of distress.13 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.14 You should not have stood at the crossroads To cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.”

The end of pride is the diminishing of the value of life for the sake of getting what one wants for themselves. The Edomites stood idly by as their brother Israel was carried away captive. They didn’t lift a finger to help Israel. They were so blinded by pride that they figured Israel’s loss would be their gain. Pride leads to rejoicing over those who weep and weep over those who rejoice, exactly the opposite of what God commands. The proud hate to see anyone else gain or profit or be blessed. That is the nature of pride. Pride is void of love and is satisfied to feed its lusts at the expense of those around it. Pride is appallingly loveless.

What about us? If you want to see what is really in a person’s heart, go to the reading of a family will. An inheritance brings out a lot of emotions as possessions are assigned to relatives. It isn’t always pretty. Pride and possessions can divide family members. That’s what the Edomites allowed to happen to them and their relatives of Israel. That is the product of lovelessness. That should never be. There is a better way.

The New Testament tells us of quite a different attitude to have when it states:

  • Romans 12:9-21 – “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.20 Therefore 1 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Jesus said His disciples would be known by the love they show for one another (John 13:35). The New Testament states unequivocally that anything down lovelessly is worthless (1 Cor. 13). In fact, many look to 1 Corinthians 13 to their Biblical definition of love. But a close second is Romans 12. In Romans 12 we are given inspired practical instructions on how to love. In Romans here we are exhorted to:

  1. Love sincerely not hypocritically – v. 9
  2. Love in a way that abhors what is evil and clings to good – v. 9
  3. Love in kindness and affection with a brotherly love – v. 10
  4. Love in a way that honors and gives preference to others – v. 10
  5. Love diligently, fervently, with a servant’s heart – v. 11
  6. Love joyfully, hopefully, patiently, steadfastly and in prayer – v. 12
  7. Love in practical ways that provide for the physical needs of others – v. 13
  8. Love hospitably – v. 13
  9. Love by blessing (even those who curse you) not cursing – v. 14
  10. Love in a way that matches what people are going through at the time – v. 15
  11. Love humbly in unity. Don’t be proud or opinionated – v. 16
  12. Love in forgiveness, in a way that gives a good testimony – v. 17
  13. Love in a way that promoted peace – v. 18
  14. Love God enough to allow Him to avenge injustices (Love enough that you don’t take matters into your own hands) – v. 19
  15. Love your enemy – v. 20
  16. Lovingly overcome evil with good – v. 21

What is described in Romans 12 is the exact opposite of what we see in the proud Edomites. Pride is appalling as it quenches its lust for more by stepping over or on the backs of anyone that might get in its way, including family. A time will come when those who live in pride will have to pay for their actions. That is where we turn next.

In Part 2 of  As You Have Done to Israel, we will look further in Obadiah to see not only the  consequences for those who act proudly and mistreat Israel, we will look at God’s alternatives promised to those who turn from their pride and mistreatment of Israel and humble themselves before Him. Until then let us close with considering two prayers.

For those who have yet to receive Jesus as Savior, and who want to do so, here is a suggested prayer to help you to that end:

Father in heaven, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I confess my sins to You. I have been proud and neglected to appreciate Who You are. I have offended You with my sins. I ask Your forgiveness. I do not proudly ask Your forgiveness because of any work or effort of my own. I turn form my sins to You now. I come to You believing and trusting in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. I believe I deserve Your death penalty for my sin. But I believe Jesus paid that death penalty for my sins on the cross. I accept Him as my Savior. I believe He rose from the dead. Please forgive my sins and fill me with the Holy Spirit to give me spiritual life. Help me to live humbly before You. Help me to live for You always. And help me to support Your covenant people Israel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

For those who already know Jesus as Savior (including those who may have just now prayed the above salvation prayer) here is a suggested prayer to help us apply what we have learned in this study thus far:

Father in heaven, I come to You in Jesus’ name. Please forgive me for any time I have acted sinfully against the descendants of Abraham or against the nation of Israel.  I pray for President Trump, those involved in diplomatic relations involving Israel, our Federal, State and local government representatives, may they all reassert support for Israel so that this nation will be undoubtedly supportive of Israel and not be a part of the division of Your Land. I pray and ask that You would forgive this nation for any part it’s played in dividing the Land of Israel. Father in heaven, would you please forgive us for offending You? Would You forgive us our proud disregard of Your warnings in Your word about dividing the Land and supporting the descendants of Abraham? Father, would You make clear and convince our government representatives and nation that if we are in any way involved in dividing Your Land, that we ourselves will be divided? If we repent of our mistreatment of Israel, would you remove curses and bestow blessings on us? Father, would You please help us to heal and unite as a nation? Please Holy Spirit, come upon us to convict us of our sins, save souls, and empower us to live righteously. Father, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit, would You help this nation and its citizens to become a useful instrument for You and Your glory, as long as we are still here? Would You revive the Church in our Land? Father, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit, would You please make us what we need to be, to do what You would have us to do, for Your glory, until You return? In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

[1] You can watch JD’s Prophecy Update yourself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwsPE7-J25w

[2] For a deeper more thorough consideration of this topic see John McTernan’s book As America Has Done to Israel  https://www.amazon.com/As-America-Has-Done-Israel/dp/1603740384/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=as+America+has+done+to+israel+by+mcternan&qid=1596128983&sr=8-2

[3]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[4]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

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