Sunday School Lessons: January 20, 2013, Bible Studies for Life
By Laurie Register
Published January 17, 2013
Obadiah: A Message of God’s Justice
Obadiah 1-4, 10-15, 17-18, 21
Self-confidence is considered by most people to be an attractive characteristic. There are books, seminars and other resources available to help individuals increase their self-confidence. Obadiah, though, shows us that too much self-confidence can move into the realm of arrogance. When our confidence is found only in ourselves and not in God, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
Edom’s confidence came from its geographical position, self-sufficiency and wealth. The people of Edom were arrogant. Patriotism — a love for, and pride in, country — is fine, but it should never be arrogant.
As Americans, we have shown our arrogance in our collective disregard for human life. In 2009, almost 785,000 abortions were performed. Many times, these were performed for the convenience of the individual, with little or no regard for the life of the child. In a “me first” society, life has become disposable.
Edom also showed disregard for human life in response to Israel’s national troubles. Although the two peoples were descended from brothers, rather than responding with assistance, Edom allowed Israel and Judah to be destroyed. They actually rejoiced at their brothers’ misfortunes. Because of this, God showed them no mercy, and wiped them out.
As believers, we should not only abstain from hurting others, but we are also called to be proactive in meeting the needs of innocent victims, and in helping to change laws and the mindset of our culture. Indifference or inaction is not an option.
As well as defending the right to life for unborn children, sanctity of human life also includes supporting mothers who chose to not abort their child, mothers in difficult situations, and ministering to those who have undergone abortions, helping them to find the peace and forgiveness that can be so elusive.
Providing prayer and resources for hurting people is needed, but so is personal involvement. When we respond, we show God’s love.
The people of Edom were full of arrogance, envy and dishonesty – much like people today. It was displeasing to God then, and it displeases Him now. History has shown us the truth of Obadiah’s prophecy. God carried out his judgment against Edom. God was more powerful than Edom’s position, wealth or wisdom.
Nations — and individuals — today need to understand that God is ultimately in control, and He will punish the arrogant, the proud, and those who take advantage of others’ misfortunes. God promised Judah deliverance, restoration and redemption. We have that same hope in Christ.
— Lessons in the BSL series for the winter quarter are being written by Laurie Register, executive director-treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union, SCBC.