Neutral is nowhere
Of course when I think of neutral I think of a vehicle.
I have said many times that God cannot direct something that is not moving.
Referring to the fact that God will direct us but we have to move in order for him to direct us.
Remember Paul headed to eradicate the new movement called Christian.
God directed him in a big way and redirected him to become one of the greatest proponents of this new Faith.
The suggested scripture is Obadiah.
I do not know about you but I have not spent much time with Obadiah.
I like the prophets, My Nathan is Nathaniel, Jer is Jeremiah and Joel is Nehemiah Joel.
A little about the book of Obadiah.
It deals with an ancient feud between Israel and Edom.
Between the descendants of Jacob and Esau.
God is unhappy with the nation of Edom.
They were not acting like family toward Israel.
God was about to set things right and punish Edom.
The name Obadiah means “Servant of the Lord”.
Nothing is known about the person.
It is dated after the fall of Judah
The point of the book is that when Judah fell Edom should have helped the fleeing refugees instead of handing the Judeans over to the Babylonians.
The Edomites were conquered by their Arab neighbors.
It is doubted if the Edomites ever heard the message.
It was most likely to comfort and encourage the surviving Judeans with the message that God had not abandoned them.
Judah would be restored to its own land after the judgment of the Exile had been accomplished and their enemies would be punished.
The theme is God’s redemption.
The emphasis being that God is sovereign over all nations, whether they acknowledge His sovereignty of not.
God desires that we show mercy and favor to our neighbors in their time of distress.
Treachery against a relative is never justified and will be judged by the God of justice.
The Scripture for today is: “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”. Obad. 11.
We are more familiar with the passage from Revelation 3 about being lukewarm.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
This passage goes on to state that the people do not know their retched state.
They think that they are fine when actually they are miserable, blind, poor and naked.
And though in this poor state they will not listen to God because they think all is ok.
Like we said last week, unless you know your wicked state you cannot be redeemed.
We have to know we are sinners before God can redeem us and make us righteous in His righteousness.
That is what Martin Luther meant when he stated, “Sin boldly that grace might abound”.
I do not think he was saying go ahead and sin for God is waiting to forgive you; but know that you do sin and God is ready to forgive you and help you sin no more.
As it says in Scripture, “Know thyself.”
Or as we might say, admit that you are unable to be perfect and do sin that God might forgive, redeem and set you aright.
What can we glean from the book of Obadiah in light of being proactive in helping family and neighbors?
We should never hate others, for any reason.
Never is there any justification for showing any spirit toward someone except that of love.
But we so make value judgments when people are not following God’s moral law.
Obadiah was God’s prophet.
He witnessed the proud Edomites, who were safely nestled in the mountains where no enemy could reach them, make no attempt to help when the Israelites were attacked.
They might have said, its not our war.
Why should we get involved?
Inactivity can be a sin of neglect.
Like the poet Marguerite Wilkinson wrote:
“I never cut my neighbor’s throat;
My neighbor’s gold I never stole.
I never spoiled his house or land,
But God have mercy on my soul!
For I am haunted night and day,
By all the deeds I have not done.
Oh unstamped loveliness!
Oh costly value never won!”
Sometimes we are called to get involved, even at a great cost to ourselves.
It is stated that the Edomites had become bandits who lived in the protection of the rocky crags and natural fortresses near the Dead Sea.
They would raid a trading caravan, plunder it, and retreat to the security provided by their strategic geographic location.
They were constantly waiting for anyone to pass by, even straggling Israelites, and striking like an eagle strikes its prey, they would dash swiftly upon them in murderous hate.
Who are the Edomites among us today?
They are the ones who privately engage in crooked politics, gambling rings, illegal drugs, human trafficking, and other crimes that destroy society.
They firmly hold the destiny of many people and grip a city, country, or even larger area tightly in their clutches.
The forces of decency seem powerless before them.
God, however, has a word for people like this, spoken through Obadiah; “Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord”. Obad. 4
They seem impregnable in their pride and arrogant self-confidence.
Those who think they cannot be touched by the limitations of humanity often do terrible things.
Proud people are presumptuous.
They wonder who can bring them down, but God said that he will destroy the wise men out of Edom.
No one can shake a fist in God’s face and ignore the basic laws of humanity.
For God is present in human affairs.
Everyone is answerable to his law.
He sees every violation of both law and duty.
God in His time will make things right.
As Obadiah says, “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head”. Obad. 15
Although God seems to delay in His work, in his good time he will make his people victorious.
Whether one is actively working against God’s people or just not aiding them in their need, both positions are despicable in God’s sight, and both will be punished.
The neutral person is never completely neutral.
By not acting they are allowing evil to have it’s way.
God always has the last word, for on mount Zion will be deliverance.
This is fulfilled in the deliverance from sin that was made possible by Jesus’ death on the cross.
God’s people always win the victory!
We should trust him and remain faithful in all situations.
Does anyone mistreat you?
Are you suffering because of your loyalty to God?
If so, wait and you will see God’s deliverance.
When you become depressed, read his Word often.
Underline passages that emphasize the truth of God’s faithfulness to his people.
Those who actively oppose you or stay natural when they could help you will not win the victory.
God will win it, and you will also if you are on his side and seeking to do his will.
As a person who is always in gear, I say to you get in gear and get moving and invite The Lord God Almighty to direct you into His will for your life.
Then you will be transformed by the renewal of your mind and be able to prove and do the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
What better life could there be?
We see, Lord help us do!