Forgive and Forget
Have you ever had a family situation that affected relationships in your family for long after whatever was the original cause of the division? Someone offended someone else or is jealous of the other person. Chances are nobody really remembers what caused the discord in the first place, right? Sometimes the original cause doesn’t even matter. Because underneath whatever or whoever is to blame is unforgiveness and rivalry. Even if there is something someone has done that has hurt another person, repentance and forgiveness can play a beautiful role in restoring relationships rather than trying to settle the score. But when people are unrepentant—as was the case with Edom, judgment is coming—especially when they messed with God’s people. Drama begets drama. But we can overcome drama when we operate under grace and forgiveness and choose to forgive and forget.
Bible Reading of the Day: Obadiah
We are reading a new book of the Bible today—in fact, this is the shortest Old Testament book. It is the book of Obadiah, which was written by the minor prophet Obadiah.
A little about Obadiah. His name means “servant of Yahweh”. Obadiah was likely written shortly after the fall of Jerusalem. Obadiah has some words for Edom, but not just Edom – for all nations that oppose God’s purposes for His people Israel. Obadiah verse 15:
“The day of the Lord is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.”
Forgive and Forget – The Root of Drama
Perhaps you remember where the drama began. And in all honestly, it seems to have begun with Jacob, also called Israel. Jacob wanted Esau’s birthright AND his blessing.
Esau was his twin brother and twice Jacob used trickery to get what he wanted. Jacob was a schemer and a deceiver working for his identity, place and blessing. God’s purposes still prevailed, but a bunch of drama occurs when we try to make God’s plans happen. The root of drama was jealousy and coveting and revenge.
Forgive and Forget – Temporary Forgiveness
And yet, years after Jacob had been gone, there was a moment when Jacob and Esau greeted one another in Genesis 33:1-17
“33 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 And he himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother 4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. 5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked.
Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the female servants and their children approached and bowed down. 7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down. 8 Esau asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?” “To find favor in your eyes, my lord,” he said. 9 But Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.”
Forgive and Forget – Let it Go
10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it. 12 Then Esau said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.”
13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.” 15 Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.” “But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”
16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.”
Forgive and Forget – Perpetuating Unforgiveness
So, it seemed like there was forgiveness between Jacob and Esau, no problem, right? But sometimes others around us can perpetuate drama and people don’t forget and they won’t let others forget, either. Esau’s descendants had it out for Jacob’s. And the Edomites, descendants of Esau, time and again let their unforgiveness and rivalry with Jacob be known.
They did not know that you don’t mess with God’s people. God is the Defender of His people and God is our Defender, too. Obadiah was relaying the message of the judgment that was coming.
“Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.” The Lord has spoken.”
According to GotQuesstions.org, here are the reasons why God was judging Edomites:
– Their heart of pride: “The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3).
– Their violent acts against Israel: “Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever” (Obadiah 1:10).
– And their attitude toward Jerusalem’s destruction: “Do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin” (Obadiah 1:12).
– There was also their plundering and looting of Jerusalem: “Do not loot his wealth in the day of his calamity” (Obadiah 1:13).
– And their mistreatment of Jerusalem’s survivors: “Do not stand at the crossroads to cut off his fugitives” (Obadiah 1:14).
In addition to these specific sins, Edom had been a longtime enemy of Israel, ever since the time of the Exodus (Numbers 20:14-21), when the Edomites had acted churlishly toward the refugees. Through Obadiah, God provided a list of eight “do not’s” (Obadiah 1:12-14), a list which Edom obviously ignored.
Adding to their culpability is the fact that the Edomites were related to the Israelites. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob and grandson of Abraham. This family tie should have incited compassion for Israel’s plight; instead, it made Edom’s actions even more repulsive, since they were opposing not only God’s chosen people but also their own relatives.”
Scripture of the Day: Obadiah :15
“The day is near when I, the LORD, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads.”
- Friends, it is better to forgive and forget than to hold grudges and be embittered. When we have unforgiveness and harbor anger toward another, we need to deal with that behavior or God will.
- A quarrel between the brothers has affected their descendants for over 1,000 years. This division caused the Edomites to forbid Israel to cross their land during the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt. Edom’s sins of pride now require a strong word of judgment from the Lord.
- Is there a quarrel that we need to deal with?
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #255: Obadiah
Scripture of the Day: Obadiah 1:15
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