Proposition: Why were Edom’s Cliffs desolate?
Text: Jeremiah 49:16-18
Edom was the nation descended from Esau. Esau means hairy. Esau was a hairy man. Edom means red. Esau got the name Edom when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red lentil soup. When Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing instead of Esau, Esau begged his father to bless him also. There was no blessing for Esau, but his father told him what would happen in the future.
Genesis 27:39-40, Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the
fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above.
"And by your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come
about when you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck."
Esau and his descendants lived in South east of Israel until the Babylonian came. (Show map of Edom) After the return from Captivity they lived in what was called Idumaea south west of Israel. (Show map of Idumaea) The prophecy of his father came true. He lived away from the fertility of the ground and the dew of heaven. Esau lived in the desert.
Ø Malachi 1:1-4
Ø After the Babylonian captivity Edom never returned to his land. The Nabataeans had moved in and occupied the cities of Edom.
Edom thought it was safe from the Babylonians. They had seen the destruction come on Judah, but they thought they were safe, but God said, “Even if you make your nest among the stars I will bring you down.” (Obadiah 1:1-4) Edomites were cliff dwellers. They lived in caves and carved out living quarters, temples and other shelters in the red sandstone rock where they lived.
The most famous of their cities was Petra, called Sela (II Kings 14:7), in the bible. (Show picture of Petra). This city was very hard to conquer. It is only accessible through a very narrow mile long canyon. (show picture of Petra Roman aqueduct) It was easily defended because it was surrounded by cliffs and it took only a few men to guard the entrance
I. There was no wisdom in Teman
II. They contributed to the destruction of their brother
I. There was no wisdom in Teman (Why was there no wisdom in Teman?)
A. Teman was a region in Southern Edom that was famous for its wise men. Jeremiah is mocking them. Their wisdom would not be able to deliver them.
B. They had forgotten God.
1. They had followed in the footsteps of their founding father
2. Hebrews 12:15-17
3. Esau was a godless (profane) person. He didn’t think about the future. He could only think that he was hungry and he wanted to satisfy his hunger. He sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup. As the oldest he had the right to the biggest portion of his father’s possessions. His father was wealthy. He was more powerful than some kings, and Esau sold his portion for a bowl of lentils. You can buy a bag of lentils and make several bowls of soup for less than a dollar.
4. The fornicator is like Esau. He has a desire for sexual pleasure and he thinks no further. He wants his desire satisfied and he sells his soul and his future for a few minutes of pleasure. He doesn’t look down the road and see what consequences his actions will cause. Maybe STD, a child brought into the world without both parents together, no trust between the partners and so many other things.
C. They worshipped idols
1. II Chronicles 25:14-15
2. Esau knew about the true God and the Edomites were neighbors to Israel. They knew about the true God, but they chose to fall down before a block of wood.
3. Isaiah 44:9-20
D. They forgot where wisdom comes from
1. Proverbs 9:10
2. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom
3. If I have no fear or reverence of God I will do as I please and forget what he has commanded me to do.
4. Many have lost their fear of God. They live in sin and have no intentions of changing. Many live together who aren’t married and they don’t intend to get married. Homosexuals have no fear of God. Churches have no fear of God.
E. They profess to be wise
1. Romans 1:17-24
2. Those in Teman professed to be wise, but they became fools.
3. I Corinthians 1:18-31
4. The message of the cross was foolishness to Herod. Herod was Idumaean, an Edomite. This is the same Herod that beheaded John the Baptist. He took his brother’s wife, who was their niece, and married her.
a. Luke 23:7-12
b. He thought mocked Jesus and didn’t change his ways. He continued in the foolishness of his power.
5. The message of the cross is foolishness to the world. A Muslim man doesn’t believe the message of the cross. A Muslim man I talked to said, “Christianity believes that Jesus was God.” He said, “They also believe Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. That is impossible and ridiculous. It is impossible for man to kill God. That is weakness. God is not weak.”
6. To Islam Christianity is weak. Islam knows nothing, but crushing and destroying their enemy. From the time of Mohammed on they have been warriors destroying their enemies or being destroyed.
7. Christianity is power perfected in weakness.
8. II Corinthians 12:9-10
9. Jesus conquered death. The Jews and Romans thought they had conquered Jesus. They whipped him, mocked him and nailed him to a cross and killed him. Three days later he resurrected. There was no denying the tomb was empty. Now the Jews and Romans had a worse problem than before. What do you do with a man who has resurrected? The only thing you can do is kill him again, but what good would that do?
10. Fifty days later 3,000 people were baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. They were ready to surrender to Jesus Christ and make Him their master.
II. They contributed to the destruction of their brothers (Obadiah 1:9-14) (Why shouldn’t they have contributed to the destruction of their brother?)
A. His brother was in distress.
1. Babylon destroyed Judah.
2. Edom had been subdued by Israel years before. Saul fought against them. David and Joab conquered Edom. Solomon controlled Edom after David died. Amaziah defeated Edom. There were battles between Judah and Edom throughout history.
3. Edom saw this as an opportunity to get rid of Judah and get revenge for what Judah had done to them.
4. Judah needed help. They were weak and vulnerable. The Edomites took what little they had left. They killed those who were trying to escape from the Babylonians.
5. I Corinthians 8:8-13
6. If we cause our brother to stumble we are the same as Edom. We destroy him.
B. They rejoiced at the destruction of their brother.
1. Obadiah 1:12
2. Proverbs 24:17-18
3. God saw Edom rejoicing over the destruction of Judah. God was displeased at what they were doing. They received the same destruction as Judah, but they never returned to their land.
4. We are to do good to our enemy. Not rejoice at his calamity.
5. Romans 12:17-21
6. Jesus returned good for evil. He died for people of all nations. He even died for Herod and his family. Herod the Great tried to kill Jesus when he was a little boy. His son Herod Antipas killed John the Baptist; took his own brother’s wife (Herod Philip) (Leviticus 20:21), who was their niece; and mocked Jesus. If Herod would have repented of his sins and been baptized into Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins he could have been forgiven of his evil ways.
The Edomites for the most part continued in their evil ways.
Ezekiel 35:10-15, They thought they were going to have Israel and Judah, but God said they would be desolate. They never returned to their land. The Nabataeans inhabited their land, but God had said that Edom would be desolate forever, Jeremiah 49:13, 17 and 18. The land there is desolate today. The Nabataens were wealthy. The main trade route passed by Petra. Later the trade routes changed and no longer passed close by to Petra. By the 400’s AD Petra was no longer wealthy. During the middle ages it was an object of curiosity. After that few people even knew where it was. The western world didn’t even know where Petra was until 1812, when Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, “discovered” it.
God it would be desolate and it is. We may be thriving and wealthy, but if we are wise in our own eyes and participate in the destruction of our brother we will be desolate also.