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. —Obadiah 1:12
The Lord here was addressing a family feud that spanned hundreds of years. The feud between Jacob and Esau had become the battle between their descendants, Judah and Edom. The book of Obadiah was actually written to the Edomites and is a word of rebuke to Esau’s descendants for aiding the Babylonians in the overthrow of Israel. The Lord said to Edom, “You should not have stood by in the day of your brother’s problem. You should not have rejoiced in his calamity, nor should you have spoken in pride because this didn’t happen to you.” The point is, God was displeased at Edom’s rejoicing over Judah’s demise, just as He is displeased when we perpetuate family feuds. Later in verse 15, the Lord ominously warned, “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.”
Absolutely nothing good can come from long-standing feuds or arguments. The only thing that happens is that other people get sucked into them and learn to despise others who have done them no wrong. Just because they belong to a group or family someone in the other family had a problem with, the descendants take up the battle. Sad to say, this type of infighting sometimes happens even in Christian families.
Proverbs 24:17–18 says, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” As Christians, we are going to have enemies, but we are to pray for their salvation—not for their destruction! Though some will refuse the mercy and grace of God and be lifelong enemies of the cross and cause of Christ, the Lord still does not want us to rejoice over their demise. Esau’s bitterness became his descendants’ heritage and eventually consumed them, as bitterness always will. So be careful about perpetuating family feuds. Instead, be quick to forgive, and do not rejoice in another’s demise. To do so is not pleasing to the Lord.
Is there some patching up that needs to take place in your family? Take the steps to do so quickly, lest the offense take root and bitterness spring up. By it, many will be defiled (Heb. 12:15), as was the case with Edom!
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