You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble. Obadiah 14 (NIV).
The Concordia Study Bible reference for this verse is from 1 Kings. It takes place during the life of Elijah, the great prophet. 1 Kings 18:4 outlines a different Obadiah (but still a follower of the Lord) as he hides a hundred of the Lord’s prophets from murder-bent queen Jezebel. Obadiah then meets Elijah, who is about to confront the prophets of Baal, discredit them, kill them, and threaten the rule of Ahab and Jezebel.
Yet, in Obadiah 14, the (later) prophet cautions that we, as believers, are not to lie in wait for our enemy. We aren’t to destroy him, or those of his family, tribe, group, or nation when they are down and out. We are to show mercy where we can. How can we reconcile these commands?
If you recall from the last blog, we discussed the Marshall Plan. If you aren’t familiar with it, it was a massive loan program from the United States to European nations after World War II. The war had wrought untold devastation on central Europe, so much that defeated Germany was in very real danger of starvation. Without immediate rescue, the nascent alliance of western nations would be enslaved into the communist bloc. Already, the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union was well underway. If Germany fell to the Soviets, none of the other nations in Europe would last long.
Secretary of State George Marshall spearheaded the program to aid in economic rebuilding of the former Axis powers, inculcating in them both western democracy and free market economics. Within four years, Europe began to recover and the economies of even former enemies had stabilized, preserving economic, political, and religious freedoms against the very real evil of communism.
We could have turned away. It wasn’t our fight anymore; we, with our Allies, had already won, and at devastating personal cost. We could have turned over our hundred prophets to the Jezebel of Moscow and let them receive their own fate. We could have simply gone home…or gone back to war, only this time with the Soviets.
Instead, the humane thing to do, and in the interest of self-preservation, was to implement the Marshall Plan and save all those people. To give them a chance at living – and believing – on their own. We preserved the best of our Allies and readied them to stand on their own again.
Tell me: how will you do this in your own life today? How will you preserve even an enemy, or help a needy friend? What can you do to help someone beat back the threat of evil today?
For further reading: 1 Kings 18:4, Obadiah 15
Lord, help me to help someone else today.
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