Who Is Splitting the Rock?

Obadiah 3     Your proud heart has deceived you,
        you that live in the clefts of the rock,
        whose dwelling is in the heights.
    You say in your heart,
        “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
4     Though you soar aloft like the eagle,
        though your nest is set among the stars,
        from there I will bring you down,     says the LORD.


The people of Edom had become arrogant because they were successful in the eyes of the world. They had wealth, homes, and fame. As a result they no longer thought they were vulnerable to any kind of attack from enemies, or even God.

Their safety seemed to have been in the clefts of the rock. More than likely these were physical rocks that they thought provided them with a sense of security and defense from their enemies. However, when we read the scriptures the rock usually represents the strength and safety found in God. Instead their hearts had turned to rock or to stone. This was as a result of trusting in themselves instead of trusting in God who hides us in the cleft of the rock.

In the New Testament we read about the Church being built upon the rock and Jerome wants us to consider what happens when God’s people arrogantly live in the fissures of the rock. The church must be aware of the watchful eye of the world and recognize that her fissures or squabbles will lead to her downfall. Arrogance will split the rock of Christ and the church. The prophetic words of Obadiah to Edom are a clear warning that arrogance will split the Church and the attitudes and behaviors of God’s people can never be hidden from the LORD.


The challenge of this prophecy is for self-examination. Let’s imagine this in light of the Church and Christianity and the ways in which the Church has felt she was “safe.”

In the fourth century the Church was given the equivalent of non-profit status by the Roman government. There was one simple reason for this — the Church provided charitable services to the people of society and this was seen of great value to society. The Church has historically provided for the sick, needy and orphaned. The Church’s funds were used for the good of the entire community.

Today people are concerned about the possibility of the Church in the United States losing her non-profit status. Has the Church been hiding in what she has believed was a place of safety? At the same time have there been behaviors among those who call themselves religious leaders which have created the fissures in the rock? Has this status been abused?

Hypocrisy is the greatest danger to the Church today and arrogance continues to create the cracks and fissures which could eventually lead to her downfall. God’s people must be willing to live lives of humility and transparency before God and the world. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God, unworthy of the gift we have received. May we extend the hand of grace to our sisters and brothers in the Lord, strengthening the rock — and to the world around us. At the same time may the Church be true to her mission and humbly share the love of Christ beyond her walls, touching our communities with the transforming love of God and may we not be found guilty of splitting the Rock.


Lord, may your Church be faithful in living for you. Search my heart and help me respond to your words. Amen.

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