you will be covered with shame, and you will be cut off forever Obadiah 10 NASB
Shame – The Hebrew word bushah is used only four times in the Old Testament. It describes King David’s personal shame and distress and it describes the shame associated with the destruction under God’s judgment. In Obadiah, the nation of Edom is completely destroyed because these people rejoiced at the plight and calamity of another nation. God speaks through Obadiah to pronounce a terrible judgment on them brought about because of their lack of compassion.
There are two important thoughts involved in this judgment. The first is the idea of identity. When we begin to think that we are different (better?) than our enemies, we make the terrible mistake of ignoring our common identity under God. We are all the same. We are all sinners, all dependent, all mortal, all vulnerable, all hurting, all in need of mercy. As soon as we begin to act as though the world is full of “us” and “them,” we step away from the common bond God created and the unity God desires. The common purpose of being human is to join together in worship of the Lord as the one family of God.
The second idea is that God is the only real judge of life and the only real prosecutor of circumstances. He controls history. When we gloat or rejoice over the calamity of those “other” people, we forget that God’s hand is also on us. We are not exempt from His judgment either. In fact, just a bit of self-analysis will probably reveal that we share all of the same potential rebellious acts as the ones we quickly condemn. The only difference between saint and sinner is the handiwork of God, not a hierarchy of moral superiority.
Obadiah forces us to ask, “Who is my enemy?” If I take Yeshua at His word, I will see that the greatest enemy of all is me. I am the one who tries to play God. Yeshua tells me to pray for those who mistreat me and to love them with self-sacrificing actions. Yeshua points toward my commonality with my enemy, not my separation.
Obadiah would tell us to weep for those under God’s judgment. He would tell us to plead for God’s mercy in their lives. God’s word to Obadiah is a reminder that shame follows gleeful exuberance over the plight of my enemies. The man next door, the people in that other neighborhood, the evil ethnic group around the world are only reminders of the truth, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
Topical Index: shame, bushah, enemy, Obadiah 10, judgment