Dear Ladies,

     Sometimes life is just unfair. People hurt us and no one seems to notice or care. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the world just keeps spinning. It’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking it doesn’t matter what we do. When we see the rich and powerful succeed no matter who they hurt, step on or completely disregard it can be so darn frustrating. 

     I think we grow frustrated because we want human justice. We fail to comprehend divine perfect justice which gets meted out in God’s perfect timing. 

     By the time Obadiah comes around the feud between Israel and Edom is centuries old and God has lots of reasons to be angry over how the Edomites have treated His chosen people. Mostly, I believe He’s saddened by their perpetual hatred of each other. Hatred between brothers is always sad. It’s made worse when it’s passed along to children, grandchildren and each subsequent generation. 

     I once had a pastor tell me that the Hebrew word for extreme blood-thirsty violence is “chamas”. This might be a stretch on my part but it sounds a lot like Hamas, the violent sect of Palestinians whose life mission is to wipe out the Jews. Interesting that this is where Esau’s descendants settled. 

     I’m not suggesting that every sibling rivalry will eventually threaten world peace. What I am saying, and so is Obadiah, is that there will be a day and time when God will say “enough!” to this sibling rivalry. That will not be a pretty day and I don’t think any of us wants to be around to see it. But that day is coming. When God makes a promise He always keeps it. His plans cannot be thwarted and His justice will come in His way and in His timing. 

     In Micah God tells us to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. It’s kind of sad that Esau never learned that lesson. Hopefully we can. 

     Love as always, Renée 

Now on to this week’s lesson. 

Read Philemon 

Memory verse:12 “I am sending him-who is my very heart- back to you”

1. How well do you demonstrate love for your fellow believers?

2. How can you be a source of love for the women in this group or for our fellow church members?

3. What would need to change in your life before others considered you to be a source of joy?

4. Paul, writing from prison, likely faced discouragement. Who is God calling you to encourage right now?

5. Can you think of a time when you had the power and authority to force someone to succumb to your will, but instead allowed them to make their own decision? Describe those circumstances. 

6. How easy was it for you to set aside your will in that instance?

7. How confident were you that they’d make the right choice?

8. How might God be using you right now to encourage another believer to let go of someone or something that they love?

For personal growth:

Paul mentions Epaphras in his closing. This is the same Epaphras who shared the gospel with the Colossians. How cool is it that rather than wrapping himself in bitterness, he used his time in prison to tell Paul about the body of believers in Colassae?  What  is your attitude like when life doesn’t turn out the way you imagine it should?  What imprisons you?  How can you be a bold spokesperson for your own church?  What does your church do especially well? Where does it need to grow?  How willing are you to be an instrument of change in your church?

For the good of the group:

Who is most likely to refer to you as their beloved co-worker as Paul does if Philemon?