The Book of Obadiah was addressed to the nation of Edom, which was located southeast of Israel. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. They apparently had a grudge against Israel (the descendants of Jacob) that went all the way back to the conflict that took place between the two brothers. Talk about holding a grudge!
This bad blood was evidenced in certain ways. According to Numbers 20:21, Edom refused to give Israel passage through their country as they traveled to Canaan. And according to Psalm 137:7, Edom rejoiced over the capture and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
In Obadiah 11 God leveled this indictment against Edom, “In the day that you stood on the other side - in the day that strangers carried captive his (Israel’s) forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem - even you were as one of them.” While the Edomites never lifted a hand to hurt Israel, they never lifted a hand to help either. They chose to remain neutral, and for that God judged them. The nation no longer exists!
The word “neutral” has an interesting definition: Not taking part, not aligning itself with, indefinite, indifferent, having little or no decided color, not vivid, without strongly marked characteristics.
Consider these additional definitions of the word “neutral” --
- In biology, it’s the same as neuter - lacking the ability to reproduce. It lacks life.
- In chemistry, it means giving neither acid or alkaline reaction. It lacks distinction.
- In electronics, it means neither negative nor positive. It lacks power.
- In mechanics, is means a disengaged position. It lacks motion.
- In Christianity, it means not hot or cold, just lukewarm. It lacks commitment.
I’m so glad that when we were dead in trespasses and sin, God did not adopt a position of neutrality. He moved heaven and earth to save us! Thankfully, God didn’t stand on the other side where we were concerned. Let’s not stand on the other side where He is concerned. In the words of the old song, “Stand up, stand up, for Jesus!”
Pastor Todd Weston