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.
In the book of Obadiah, we learn about the nation of Edom and its actions during the Babylonian invasion. When calamity struck their neighbors, the people of Edom chose to remain passive, doing nothing to help those in need. Their indifference to the suffering of others led to a stark message from God. This biblical account teaches us an essential lesson: when we do nothing in the face of injustice, we become complicit in the pain and suffering of others.
In Obadiah 11, the Lord says, “On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.” God’s words to Edom remind us that indifference is not neutral; it aligns us with those who perpetrate injustice. When we fail to act in the face of oppression and suffering, we are not living up to our calling as Christ’s followers. Silence is violence.
This timeless message from Obadiah also resonates with our present reality. Silence can be as harmful as the actions of the oppressors. When we turn a blind eye to injustice and choose not to speak up for those who are marginalized, we perpetuate the cycle of suffering. We cannot stand idly by while our brothers and sisters suffer under the weight of discrimination and prejudice. Instead, we must take a stand, using our voices and actions to bring about positive change.
Just as God was not silent to the violence suffered by His people during the Babylonian invasion, we must not be indifferent to the pain experienced by others. We must empathize, listen, and be proactive in supporting those who face injustice. By doing so, we embody Christ’s love and fulfill our purpose as His followers.
Let us remember the lesson from Obadiah: if we do nothing, we become like the perpetrators. Instead, let us be a force for good, actively working alongside God toward a world where love, compassion, and justice prevail. Together, as a community of faith, we can make a difference and be a beacon of hope for those in need.
How does the story of Edom’s inaction during the Babylonian invasion resonate with your own life? What is God stirring in your heart right now? Spend some time in quiet reflection. What is God asking you to do? Are there movements of compassion and justice that come to mind? Consider how you’ll respond.
WIllow’s Compassion and Justice ministry offers a variety of ways to serve in this way. Check it out here.