You should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune. Obadiah 1:12
A five-minute montage of snow-related mishaps was the central piece to one episode of a TV show. Home videos of people skiing off rooftops, crashing into objects while tubing, and slipping on ice brought laughter and applause from the studio audience and people watching at home. The laughter seemed to be loudest when it appeared that the people who wiped out deserved it because of their own foolish behavior.
Funny home videos aren’t a bad thing, but they can reveal something about ourselves: we can be prone to laugh at or take advantage of the hardships of others. One such story is recorded in Obadiah about two rival nations, Israel and Edom. When God saw fit to punish Israel for their sin, Edom rejoiced. They took advantage of the Israelites, looted their cities, thwarted their escape, and supported their enemies (Obadiah 1:13–14). A word of warning came through the prophet Obadiah to Edom: “You should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune,” for “the day of the Lord is near for all nations” (vv. 12, 15).
When we see the challenges or suffering of others, even if it seems they’ve brought it upon themselves, we must choose compassion over pride. We’re not in a position to judge others. Only God can do that. The kingdom of this world belongs to Him (v. 21)—He alone holds the power of justice and mercy.
How do you react to the hardships others face? What does a loving, merciful response look like?
Merciful God, forgive me for my feelings of self-righteousness. Thank You for Your justice and mercy.
The nation of Edom descended from Jacob’s brother Esau, who “despised” his rights as firstborn son of Isaac (Genesis 25:34). Even so, God told the Israelites, “Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you” (Deuteronomy 23:7). But Edom had a history of incivility toward Israel. During the exodus from Egypt, the Edomites denied the Israelites the right to pass peacefully through their land. And in the terrible story recorded in 1 Samuel, it was “Doeg the Edomite” who killed eighty-five of God’s priests when they assisted David during his flight from King Saul (1 Samuel 22:18–19). Their antagonistic and murderous treatment of the people of Israel had a long history.