The Genesis 12:3 Principle Obadiah 10—14
Imagine having to sleep with a gun under your bed. I am not talking about Detroit, New York, or Philadelphia. I am talking about Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. This is Israel’s reality. Imagine seeing tanks and troop carriers daily. Think about living in a society where military uniforms and guns are as common as blue jeans and business suits. This is Israel.
Israel knows the ravages and expense of war, the violence of conquest, the heartbreak of death, and the unstable peace that often follows victory. Since the days of Abraham, the Jewish people have struggled to survive. Even today, Israel’s enemies are poised to attack, wanting to drive the Jewish nation into the Mediterranean Sea.
Four thousand years ago, Abraham enlisted his servants to ﬁght the armies of four kings to rescue his nephew, Lot (Gen. 14:1–16). This was the ﬁrst of more than 30 battles Israel fought that were recorded in the Old Testament. The nation’s leaders, such as Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Saul, David, and the judges, led their people into combat on a multitude of battleﬁelds. The clash of swords and cries of the wounded were heard frequently in the Holy Land.
The ancient prophet Obadiah spoke to this issue in verses 10–14 in the book that bears his name. His prophecy of merely 21 verses condemns the nation of Edom—the descendants of Jacob’s brother, Esau—for its stand against the Jewish nation: “For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut oﬀ forever” (v. 10).
Warring against the Jewish people results in judgment. Standing silent and offering no help when they are attacked evokes God’s wrath. Obadiah prophesied that Edom would cease to exist; and today, there is no Edom.
Edom’s destruction follows a principle God teaches in His Word via a promise He gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the patriarchs of Israel: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you” (Gen. 12:3).
God promised to acknowledge and prosper the nations that stand with Israel and to bring evil to those that threaten it. And He has made good on His promises throughout the ages.
Edom’s failure to help Israel when “strangers carried captive [Israel’s] forces, when foreigners entered [Israel’s] gates,” made Edom “as one of them” (Obad. 11). God considered Edom to be as bad as the nations that actually attacked Israel. Obadiah 12–14 lists eight things the Edomites did to anger God:
(1) They watched the Israelites being captured, (2) “rejoiced” at their destruction, (3) spoke “proudly” during their “distress” (v. 12), (4) entered Jerusalem, (5) “gazed on [the Israelites’] aﬄiction” (6) plundered them (v. 13), (7) killed Israelites who were trying to escape, and (8) delivered Jewish survivors to their attackers (v. 14).
So God promised judgment. Eventually, He cut Edom oﬀ forever (v. 10).
Many people refuse to accept that God promises to curse the nations that curse the Jewish people. Yet, where are the Philistines, the Moabites, the Midianites, the Ammonites, the Amalekites, and the Jebusites? They have ceased to exist as nations.
However, the Genesis 12:3 principle did not die with them. God eventually took down Babylon, Persia, Rome, Greece, Nazi Germany, and others. He has promised, “I will punish all who oppress them [the Jewish people]” (Jer. 30:20).
Britain was once the foremost power in the world, occupying one quarter of the world’s territory and controlling one ﬁfth of the world’s population. During World War II, Britain governed the Holy Land via a mandate from the League of Nations that directed it to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in what is today Israel, Jordan, and Gaza.
Instead, the British gave most of the land to the Arabs, allowed illegal Arab immigration into Palestine, and denied Jewish people entry when they were trying to escape extermination at the hands of the Nazis. After the war, Britain’s power eroded, its empire declined, and its inﬂuence decreased.
Canada’s current prime minister, Stephen Harper, has made no bones about the fact that he stands with Israel. Wrote journalist Thomas Rose, “Next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has clearly emerged as Israel’s strongest and most unapologetic defender.”1 Today Canada is prospering, with one of the most competitive economies in the world.
Obadiah 10–14 demonstrates the Genesis 12:3 principle, and history conﬁrms it. Nations that have aided the Jewish people, God has honored; nations that have harmed the Jewish people, He has judged.
This principle has two important aspects that impact all nations and peoples—including America. (1) We must actively stand with Israel and help with its defense. (2) We must never passively stand in silence, ignoring Israel’s need for assistance and defense. Dire consequences, curses, will follow.
When I pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6), I pray for its inhabitants, its leaders, and the peace process. I also pray for America and other nations to stand with Israel and not ignore its dilemmas. Visiting Israel and buying Israeli products send a message to the world that terrorism fails in its purpose.
The Genesis 12:3 principle means there is a choice to be made: Bless Israel and prosper, or curse Israel and end up like Edom.
- Thomas Rose, “Canadian Prime Minister Condemns Obama, West for Not Supporting Israel,” Breitbart, July 14, 2014 <tinyurl.com/TRharper2>.