“Because of the violence against your brother Jacob,
you will be covered with shame;
you will be destroyed forever.
On the day you stood aloof
while strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
You should not gloat over your brother
in the day of his misfortune,
nor rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their destruction,
nor boast so much
in the day of their trouble.”
—Obadiah 10-12 (NIV)
When I was about 8 years-old, my father did a genealogy study of our family. This predated the internet, so he interviewed our family matriarch and patriarch (nearly 100 years-old). He went to the library and found records from different states, counties, and churches.
What was most amazing to me was how many ethnicities are in my bloodline. I thought then that it made me pretty special (and I still do). I am a mix of African, European, and Native American ancestry. DNA testing would later reveal specific countries and regions of those continents and add the Middle East as well.
As I came into adulthood, it was reinforced that my lineage does make me special, but it doesn’t make me unique. All of us are a multi-ethnic blend. And if you profess Christ, you are a part of the Father’s multi-ethnic family too. Amen! It has been said that if you are an American, you have more in common with an Iranian Christian than you do with an American non-believer.
The Father’s love for diversity doesn’t start or end with ethnic diversity; it includes the diversity of expression through worship, interpersonal relationships, talents, and thought. The Enemy likes to use society to create tribes and divisions. God’s plan is one of unity across all lines and differences so that His mosaic reveals the goodness of His love.
The Lord speaks to the Edomites through Obadiah. They showed no compassion to their literal cousins; they attacked, gloated, and stole from them. Obadiah tells Edom that destruction and shame will follow them because how they treated their family doesn’t reflect how God has protected them and their forefathers.
Daily Battle Order:
It’s easy to draw lines and mistreat others when we decide they are not one of us. It becomes even easier when we decide they are not God’s family too. Both presumptions are wrong, dangerous, and dishonoring to God. That viewpoint taints our witness and leaves an unbelieving world scratching their heads and rejecting the very message we wish to draw them to.
Check yourself today: Whose downfall are you gloating over? Is there a group, political party, individual, or “cousin’s” misfortune that brings you some joy? Check that. Confess and repent. If it’s someone you know personally, reach out, apologize, and ask for forgiveness.
As members of God’s family, we must protect and encourage our own, and invite others in.