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When Rejoicing Turns to Ruin

It has now been a little over four months since demonically inspired terrorists infiltrated southern Israel and carried out their unspeakable acts against the Jews.  Men, women, children and even dogs were subjected to vile and wicked actions, much of which will not soon be forgotten by those who bore witness to their crimes.  If that wasn’t enough to break the hearts of Jewish people who had lived alongside, worked alongside and personally advocated for the residents of Gaza, the footage after the event would have.  Whereas most people were sickened and horrified by the barbarity shown by Hamas, many in Gaza cheered.  In our mind it is difficult to understand why people would celebrate this.  Yet, it isn’t the first time that a neighbour of Israel’s has cheered over their calamity.  What’s worse, the people I am referring to were even closer than a neighbour.  Ezekiel 35:15 reveals who I speak of (with emphasis added):  As you rejoiced because the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom – all of it!


The Edomites traced their lineage to Esau.  If you recall the Genesis account, Jacob and Esau are the offspring of Isaac and Rebekah and Genesis 36 very clearly tells us not only where Esau settled but the fact that Esau is synonymous with Edom.  Verses 6 to 8 of Genesis 36 read: Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the persons of his household, his cattle and all his animals, and all his goods which he had gained in the land of Canaan, and went to a country away from the presence of his brother Jacob.  For their possessions were too great for them to dwell together, and the land where they were strangers could not support them because of their livestock.  So Esau dwelt in Mount Seir.  Esau is Edom.  On a modern map, the area occupied by the Edomites was south of the Dead Sea – half of which would have been located in southern Israel and half in Jordan.


Edom was not known as a great nation.  In fact, Jeremiah 49:15 says this about the Edomites: For indeed, I will make you small among nations, despised among men.  Perhaps being despised by the nations did not trouble this group of people who found solace in their prosperity and security.  However, they were about to discover they had a much bigger problem – the judgement of God.  The book of Obadiah (which contains only one chapter of 21 verses) explains the reason for this judgement in verses 3 and 4: “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’  Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, says the Lord.  Because of their proximity along a major trade route and their impregnable rock fortress, the Edomites had what others desired – prosperity and security.  But they also had something else no nation should desire – a burning hatred for the Jews.


During the Lord’s pronouncement of judgement on Edom, we read these verses (emphasis added): For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.  In the day that you stood on the other side – in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem – even you were as one of them.  But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.  You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity.  Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity.  You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped; nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the day of distress.


As I read that passage, I cannot help but note certain similarities to the situation Israel faced on October 7, 2023:-


1.     In the invasion that Obadiah had in view, Edom was not confederated with Judah’s enemies but they stood by and watched on, perhaps even going so far as to aid the enemy’s attack.  In short, the Edomites behaved like an enemy instead of a neighbour and brother.  It is not dissimilar to how many Arab nations treat Israel today, particularly those who have fragile peace agreements with them.  They could very capably assist Israel but they stand by.  Some do nothing and others provide financial, tactical and logistical support to Israel’s enemies. 


2.     In the case of Edom, they rejoiced over Judah’s suffering.  For the Jews, it was a day of destruction and distress.  For Edom, it was a day of delight and rejoicing. 


3.     The Edomites entered Jerusalem for the purposes of violating the people and stealing their wealth.  It is a different era, different cities and different persecutors but we are all familiar with exactly what Hamas stole on October 7, 2023.  They stole the innocence of young women, they stole people from their homes and from their families and they stole lives.  The Jewish people highly value family and Hamas cruelly plundered them and gloated over them.


4.     The Edomites cut off the escape routes making flight from persecution impossible.  In doing so, they seized those trying to flee and delivered them into the hands of Judah’s enemies.  I am sure most have seen the footage of the massacre at the music festival in southern Israel.  Hamas terrorists blocked escape routes, shot people, raped women and burnt others in their vehicles. 


But even though the Edomites rejoiced, they would soon face ruin, as will all other wicked nations when God’s wrath falls upon the world during the Tribulation Period.  Obadiah 15 and 16: For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head.  For as you drank on My holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been.


Wicked nations may have drunk from a cup of celebration on October 7, 2023 but they will one day drink from another cup – the cup containing the undiluted wrath of God which He will hand them because of their rejection of Christ and their treatment of His people.  Psalm 75:8 says: For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down.  On that day, rejoicing will give way to ruin!

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