- What we believe
- Spiritual Help
- How we serve
- Christian Aid & Relief
- Adult Discipleship
- Campus Ministry
- Christian Giving
- Congregational Counseling
- Lutheran Schools
- Military Services
- Ministerial Education
- Multi-Language Publications
- Special Ministries
- Women's Ministry
- Youth and Family Ministries
- Northwestern Publishing House
- WELS Administration
- News & Events
- Streams media
- About WELS
Who has my back?
Have you ever counted on a friend, only to be let down? When that happens, we feel vulnerable. We begin to question whether anyone is truly on our side. Who has my back?
God's people asked that question, and the Lord answered with the words of the shortest Old Testament book—the prophet who promised that God has your back—Obadiah.
Bad blood between brothers
Obadiah finishes the story of the twin sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau, who became the fathers of two nations. From Jacob came the people of Israel, and from Esau came the nation of Edom. Close relations, however, did not create close allies.
1. Read Genesis 25:29-34. How did negative aspects of their personalities overflow into their family and spiritual relationships?
Answer - Jacob was a deceiver and a schemer. Esau was not a spiritual man. The one despised the birthright and the other schemed to deceitfully get it.
2. Read Genesis 27. How did their fighting lead to betrayal, hatred, and the breaking of family bonds?
Answer - Lies, betrayal, stolen clothes and stolen blessings, mothers against fathers and brother against brother. It all ended with one brother fleeing for his life, with the family broken beyond repair.
Years later during the exodus, Jacob's descendants were led by God from Egypt to the Promised Land. They were surrounded by enemy nations—with the exception of one: Edom, their brother, the descendants of Esau. Moses and the Israelites petitioned for their help. Read Numbers 20:14-21, and see what happened.
3. List some reasons why Edom should have agreed to Israel's request.
Answer - They were all reasonable requests coming from a related people. They would have been good allies for the Edomites.
4. How do you think this affected long-term relationships between Edom and Israel? Between Edom and God?
Answer - Thought they should have my back, they are blood! But instead, look what they did! Ruined the long term relationship with Israel, and this affected their relationship with the God of Israel, too. Rather than coming into a close relationship with him, their aggression towards God's people distanced Edom from the true God.
Israel's trouble with Edom didn't end at the Exodus. In the days of the kings, when the Philistines and Arabs attacked Jerusalem, Edom did not help Israel. They turned on them. Read 2 Chronicles 21:16-17.
5. Describe the kind of defeat that Judah suffered.
Answer - Catastrophic defeat. The capital is sacked and the royalty slaughtered. It couldn't get much worse than this.
Author: Jonathan E. Schroeder
Volume 99, Number 2
Issue: February 2012
Volume 99, Number 2
Issue: February 2012
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2009
Permission is granted for a single personal copy of an article. Additional copyright information is available at Northwestern Publishing House.
Subscribe to FIC
This monthly magazine, sent to almost 50,000 subscribers, addresses important issues facing Christians today.
Forward in Christ is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014. Help us celebrate. Share some of your favorite memories/thoughts about Forward in Christ. We'll put them together to share with our readers.
Forward in Christ goes digital
Forward in Christ magazine is now available in a digital format for your computer, smart phone, or tablet.
100 years of Forward in Christ
Did you know the official magazine of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is turning 100 years old? Learn more about the magazine’s history and plans for the future—what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.