The Downfall of A Nation
By Donn Jibben
Text: Obadiah 1:1-10
As believers we all know that God is our creator. But not only is God our creator, He is also our sustainer. Col. 1:16 tells us that “by Him all things were created, things in heaven and things on earth . . . all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” It is very true that Jesus Christ is Lord! Why? Because our Lord God is both our creator and sustainer of life. There is a God under heaven and man is not He! Modern man needs to come to the realization of this truth and realize that he is utterly dependant up God as creator, sustainer, provider, and protector.
If man fails to do so he is ultimately deceived by the pride in his heart. We see this theme of the pride of man throughout the scripture, both O.T. and N.T. Pride in the human heart is a cynical attitude and an insensitivity of our deep need of God. This leads to a self-sufficiency and an approach to life that says that I have not only made it on my own but will make it on my own in the future as well. Proverbs 16:18 states that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” God hates this type of pride. Proverbs 8:13 states, “. . . I hate pride and arrogance.”
Pride, however, can also be positive. As believers we take pride in who we believe in and who we are as new creations in Christ! But this morning we are going to see Pride in the negative sense. Human pride deceives the heart of man. In the O.T. there is an excellent example of this very thing. Pride that deceived the heart of man that resulted in God’s divine discipline and judgment upon mankind.
TEXT: Obadiah 1:1-10. READ.
As God’s prophet, Obadiah deals mainly with the destruction of Edom. Their destruction was a result of God’s judgment upon the Nation because of their lack of acknowledging their deep need of God as provider and protector. The ultimate root problem was the sin of pride. To better understand this, we must look at some valuable historical evidence about Edom.
Edom’s geographical location was very beneficial to them. First, they were located along a great trade route between Syria and Egypt. This brought about great material blessings, comforts, as well as a very strong economy. Out of this they grew very independent and didn’t’ need to look to God as their provider.
Secondly, Edom had great natural strength and security. The central area of Edom was characterized by red sandstone cliffs that rose to the height of 5,000 feet. This brought great security and protection to Edom. It was therefore, next to impossible to attack the Nation and defeat them. Hidden away in an inaccessible part of the sandstone cliffs was the capitol city of Sela. It later became known as Petra. Edom’s geographical location and false sense of security resulted in the Nation’s pride and downfall. Vs. 3 of our text tells us of this very fact, “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘who can bring me down to the ground?’ ”
I am reminded of the attitude that prevailed shortly before the Titanic left to sail . . . “not even God could sink the Titanic.” Well we all know what happened to the Titanic. It is true my friends that pride comes before a fall.
Obadiah’s prophecy also contained the standing rivalry between two brothers, Esau and Jacob. The Edomites were descendents of Esau and the 12 tribes were descendents of Jacob. In Genesis 25 we can read that when their mother Rebekah was pregnant, the two of them fought in her womb. When Rebekah inquired of the Lord about it, He told her that “Two nations are in thy womb.” It is interesting to see that not only did Esau sell his birthright for red pottage (vs. 30) but that he was red all over when he was born (vs. 25). The cliffs surrounding Edom were also red in color. WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THE DOWNFALL OF THE NATION OF EDOM WAS THE PRIDE OF THEIR HEART.
SO THIS MORNING WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THREE EXAMPLES OF THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF PRIDE.
THEY ARE THESE:
LETS LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT EACH OF THESE POINTS THIS MORNING.
I. EDOMS GREAT SIN OF PRIDE
God’s judgment came upon Edom because of their offensive sin of pride. Vs. 3 of our text tells us this very plainly, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” Edom had great geographical location that brought them a false sense of security. Sela, their capitol city (later known as Petra) was accessible only through a mile long canyon called a “sig.” It was a very narrow and winding canyon that averaged only about 15 feet in width. Because Sela was only accessible through this “sig,” experts have stated that as few as 12 men could successfully defend Edom from attack from its enemies. Humanly speaking, it is easy to see that there could be no safer place than that of Edom and its capitol city of Sela. But that is just the reason why Edom’s heart became deceived and filled with pride. They didn’t think they needed God. They had become self-sufficient and believed that they alone had arrived at greatness. They didn’t need God as “provider” or “protector.” “No one can bring us down,” was the proud attitude of their hearts.
But God’s prophet was quick to point out that the sin had not only deceived their hearts but would also result in God’s ultimate judgment and destruction. Vs. 4 tells us “Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. Edom’s pride was in their lack of acknowledging their deep need for God. It expresses itself in many ways; in attitudes and actions. But one thing is clear, God hates it! Remember our earlier Proverbs text? “Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Edom’s heart, deceived by sin, also led to their mistreatment of their brother (read vs. 10). Again, Edom’s lack of acknowledging a deep need for God led to their hearts being deceived, a prideful attitude, and God’s ultimate discipline and judgment. THIS WAS THE DOWNFALL OF THE NATION OF EDOM.
SO WE CAN EASILY SEE THE EDOMS GREAT SIN WAS THAT OF PRIDE.
IN MIDERN DAY APPLICATION WE ALSO SEE THAT AMERCIA IS NOW A PRIDEFUL NATION! THAT LEADS US TO POINT NUMBER TWO THIS MORNING
II. AMERICAS GREAT SIN OF PRIDE
America has a great economy and military might. The past 10 years have been a time of moral and spiritual decline, yet a time in which we have worshipped the economy. America has attempted to remove God from government, the family (abortion, homosexuality, divorce), the classroom, and the courtroom. American is becoming a land of lawlessness! There is no fear and reverence of God in the land. America has arrived at the point of thinking they can exist in and apart from God. America is not acknowledging a deep need for God as “provider” and “protector” or as its creator and sustainer.
Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th, Planned Parenthood in New York offered free abortions in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. In Madison, WI the school board voted 3 to 2 that the students in the public schools would not be able to say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the National Anthem. Only because of an overwhelming outcry was it overturned 8 days later. In California, Governor Gray Davis signed a bill into action (AB 25) was signed that grants dozens of benefits to same sex couples. Also a Hate Crimes & School Bill (AB 225) was signed that targeted Christian schools that could keep them from participating in competitive sports. There has been an outcry in several communities in America against signs reading “God Bless America.”
America’s heart has become deceived because of the lack of acknowledging her deep need for God as “provider” and “protector.” The pride of our hearts has deceived us! America thinks it is great in and of itself.
In a positive sense, what the terrorist meant for evil God has meant for good! Many have rededicated their lives to the Lord and many of the lost have come to true salvation. Bibles are once again in high demand and churches are seeing many visitors attend their services. And if America will repent of their pride, there is hope for this great Nation. If not, we will be humbled even more in the near future.
SO IT IS THAT IT IS EASY TO SEE THAT BOTH THE PRIDE OF EDOM AND AMERICA WAS AND IS A GREAT SIN. THAT LEADS US TO POINT THREE TODAY.
III. A BELIEVERS GREAT SIN OF PRIDE.
There is nothing more destructive than pride in the human heart. Pride has been the downfall of many individuals, as history tells us. There should be no evidence of, or room in the Christian community, or a believer’s life, for the sin of pride. Such sin is unacceptable behavior in the sight of God. Pride can and will eventually even destroy a church. James 4:6 tells us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 states “All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 8:13 says that the Lord “hates pride and arrogance.”
Again, the sin of pride is the lack of acknowledging one’s deep need for God as “provider” and “protector” and the lack of worshipping Him as our creator and sustainer. As a pastor, what concerns me is that within the Christian community in America there are signs of this very fact. 85% of all evangelical churches have plateaued or are in decline. Many have cancelled Sunday evening services that once were very vibrant. Christian’s now go to church 2 out of 4 Sundays to worship God. I recently heard that one church in the south has now gone to services every other Sunday. Many believers do not read their Bibles and pray like they should. Their actions are saying that they can run their lives, families, and business apart from God. This is pride. And God hates it. This sinful attitude of pride is then carried over into the church and the church develops the attitude that “we are rich and in need of nothing, when in fact they are miserable, poor, naked and blind” (Rev. 3:17). What must we do?
2 Chron. 7:14 says it best. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray.” It is time that the Christian community humbles itself before God and admits its deep need of Him! Christ was clear that “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12). The sin of Pride is not only the downfall of a Nation but also the downfall of an individual, or even a church. Healing will only come to America and to the Christian Community when we acknowledge our deep need for God as “provider” and “protector” and worship Him as our creator and sustainer. It’s time to get on our knees and humble ourselves! America needs God! You and I need God; this church needs God! Without Him we can do nothing.
IN CONCLUSION TODAY:
We see the danger of the sin of pride. We seen it in Edom, we see it America and we see in believers lives as well. God dislikes PRIDE because it causes man to put their trust in themselves and not in God as their creator, sustainer and protector. God’s Word is clear, pride comes before a fall! It doesn’t matter if it’s a successful Nation, Church or believer any of these filled with pride will be humbled unless there is Biblical repentance and a turning back to God almighty as creator, sustainer and protector!
WHAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT SAYING TO YOU THROUGH THIS TEACHING?
LET US PRAY!
In Christ’s love,