In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces…
Even thou wast as one of them. Edom, although claiming Abraham and Isaac for his forefathers, was so unfraternal to Israel that when Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians, he shared in the hostility. His cry was, "Rase it, rase it, even to the ground!" To this our text makes reference, "Even thou wast as one of them." And what Obadiah thus says to Edom, he might often stand and say to some of us. How many who have been nursed in privileges and taken a place as servants of the God of Abraham, have been found, like Balaam, amongst the enemies of the Lord! "Even thou wast as one of them." How often the inquiry might come to those who ought to be bearing holy witness for God, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" The words may well convey a warning to us, for even the most godly have often fallen from their steadfastness. Let us note some examples by way of fixing this warning upon our hearts.
I. WE ALL DENOUNCE DRUNKENNESS. We all sadly mourn the condition of inebriates. Alas! there was a time when Obadiah might have stood in attitude of condemnation before the Patriarch Noah, and said, "Even thou wast as one of them."
II. WE SCORN THE LIAR. But there was a time when Abraham became untruthful. Obadiah might have appeared before him, and said, "Even thou wast as one of them."
III. WE ABOMINATE IMPURITY. But there was a time when Obadiah might have stood before David, as did the Prophet Nathan, and said, "Thou art the man!" "Even thou wast as one of them."
IV. WE DEPLORE RASH SPEAKING AND HOT AND HASTY WORDS. Time was when Obadiah might have come to the meek and holy Moses, and said, "Even thou wast as one of them."
V. WE OFTEN LOOK WITH FEELINGS OF DISDAIN UPON THE PROUD. And yet there was a time when Obadiah might have said to the good King Hezekiah, "Even thou wast as one of them."
VI. WE ARE EVER READY TO ADMIT THE TURPITUDE OF DENYING CHRIST. But see Obadiah standing before Simon Peter, and we catch his awful words, "Even thou wast as one of them."
VII. CONTENTION AMONGST BRETHREN IS ANOTHER EVIL WHICH WE DEPRECATE. Obadiah might have pointed to Barnabas, the "son of consolation," and said to him, "Even thou wast as one of them."
VIII. THE SIN OF UNBELIEF IS ANOTHER FEARFUL EVIL. But all the early disciples fell for a time into this sin. Obadiah might have said first to one, then another, "Even thou wast as one of them."
IX. A MURMURING SPIRIT IS ANOTHER EVIL WHICH THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD AVOID. St. Paul learned in whatsoever state he was, therewith to be content. The psalmist says his soul was as a weaned child. But we turn to the prophet of fire. We find the great Elijah under a juniper tree, murmuring at his lot. "Even thou wast as one of them." Enough. We see plainly that the Scriptures warn us of the frailty of our nature and the deceitfulness of our hearts. And, if we reflect at all, we must see that repeatedly Christian professors lack consistency. Christian principle and Christian practice should never be at variance. But what is the fact? How often the Christian in business walks so unworthy of his high calling that our prophet seems to speak to him, "Even thou wast as one of them." Or we look into society, and we find in some Christians so much worldly conformity, that to one after another Obadiah might come, and exclaim, "Even thou wast as one of them" Let me ask those Christians who spend several afternoons in the week in visiting, and yet scarcely ever drop a word for their Lord and Master - Do you think that Obadiah's expostulation is not for you: "Even thou wast as one of them"? Let us learn, therefore, these three lessons.
1. First, to live watchfully, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Snares and dangers will beset us as long as we are in the world. What some may call only the shadows upon the mountains may prove conquering foes (Judges 9:36). We all need the restraining grace of Christ. "Hold thou me up in my goings, that my footsteps slip not."
2. Secondly, to be careful about companionship. Edom's unfraternal antagonism was fed by the company he kept, till he was even "as one of them." Those who "mingle with the heathen" will not be slow to "learn their works." "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly... but his delight is in the Law of the Lord."
3. Lastly, to walk holily before God. St. Peter's exhortation should be kept in mind, "Giving all diligence, add to your faith [faith is the root - add to the root] heroic, manly courage; and to courage knowledge [self-knowledge, Bible knowledge, the knowledge of Christ; for knowledge is power for working and for waiting, for doing and for suffering]; and to knowledge temperance [temperance, or self-control, is an urgently needed grace]; and to temperance patience [we are all called to endure; we must not expect that we can be Christians without any trouble; Christ's soldiers must learn to endure hardness]; and to patience godliness [piety, devotion]; and to godliness brotherly kindness [Edom knew nothing of brotherly kindness; this brotherly kindness is love to the brethren - love to the godly]." And one more grace is enjoined, "Add to brotherly kindness charity [love to everybody]." Thus, in walking holily before God, we shall, by the power of his Spirit, keep from the sin of Edom, "Even thou wast as one of them " - one of the Babylonians; and all will take knowledge of us that we are the God-Man's disciples. The ointment of the right hand bewrayeth itself. We are Christ's. His we are, and him we serve. He was as one of us (sin only excepted), that we might be one with him forever. - A.C.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.
WEB: In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were like one of them.