Week 39 Friday

No Small Message

Today’s scripture selection: Obadiah

Key verse: Obadiah 15

It is the smallest book in the Old Testament – but within it we find a large and important message: God cares.

God is not distant; detached; unaware.  Instead, just as ancient Israel could, we can take comfort in God’s loving protection.

That’s why there was a very clear warning given in the book to the people of Edom – a nation that was related to the people of Israel by way of a shared ancestor – Esau.

The Edomites lived near the people of Israel – but they were anything but “close” relatives.  In fact, they took pleasure at Israel’s misfortunes.

In response, God warned them, they would suffer His righteous judgment upon them.

Why does that matter to you and me, thousands of years later?

Because it reassures us that we are not alone in a cruel universe, overseen by some distant deity that could care less.

It also reminds us that we should never be smug or superior in our attitude toward others.  God watches over all His children – and cares very deeply about any and all that are mistreated.

It seems to me that this ancient word of warning given to a warrior people of long ago speaks to both the aggressor and victim.

“The day of the LORD is near for all nations.  As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.”

Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like the “golden rule” once found on Jesus’ lips?

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It all comes down to this: as individuals; as family members, as citizens; as nations; as a church – we should all take note.

God is watching.  He cares very much about how we treat one another.

And that’s no small message.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be watchful – as you are – not just over my neighbor’s behavior – but mine as well.  AMEN.



By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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