Don’t Look Away

When they were invaded,
    you stood aloof, refusing to help them.
Foreign invaders carried off their wealth
    and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem,
    but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.

Obadiah 1:11 New Living Translation

What was Edom’s crime? They sat back and watched while Israel was invaded and plundered. They refused to help. God reminded Edom of their blood ties to Israel, but they acted more like an enemy in judgment. The impression you get of their actions is that Edom not only avoided involvement when Israel was invaded (presumably by Babylon), they actually gloated and celebrated at the downfall of Israel. In God’s eyes, this inaction was equivalent to actively participating in the destruction and looting of Jerusalem.

As the charges against Edom go on, God also addresses their treatment of the refugees from Jerusalem. It appears that some in Jerusalem and Judah sought refuge in Edom after the destruction at the hands of Babylon. At this point, Edom actively participated in the mistreatment of the people of Judah. They killed some of the survivors who escaped the armies of Babylon. They also captured some of the refugees and handed them over to Babylon. Not only did Edom celebrate the downfall of Judah but they victimized the refugees, as well.

How we treat those who are experiencing injustice is important to God. When we see a group of people being mistreated by others, do we stand aloof in judgment, ignoring their plea and looking down on them as if they deserved it? Perhaps we even actively engage in the injustice by refusing to provide refuge for those who are victims of oppression. The implication of this passage is that God will judge those who ignore and mistreat the victims of oppression. Inaction toward those in need is equivalent to engaging in the victimization ourselves.

God, You care for those who are victimized by powerful oppressors. You also call us to come to aid in whatever way we can. Help us to be diligent in aiding those in need.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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