Read Obadiah 1
1 The vision of Obadiah.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom—
We have heard a message from the Lord:
An envoy was sent to the nations to say,
“Rise, let us go against her for battle”—
2 “See, I will make you small among the nations;
you will be utterly despised.
3 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?’
4 Though you soar like the eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,”
declares the Lord.
5 “If thieves came to you,
if robbers in the night—
oh, what a disaster awaits you!—
would they not steal only as much as they wanted?
If grape pickers came to you,
would they not leave a few grapes?
6 But how Esau will be ransacked,
his hidden treasures pillaged!
7 All your allies will force you to the border;
your friends will deceive and overpower you;
those who eat your bread will set a trap for you;
but you will not detect it.
8 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“will I not destroy the wise men of Edom,
those of understanding in the mountains of Esau?
9 Your warriors, Teman, will be terrified,
and everyone in Esau’s mountains
will be cut down in the slaughter.
10 Because of the violence against your brother Jacob,
you will be covered with shame;
you will be destroyed forever.
11 On the day you stood aloof
while strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
12 You should not gloat over your brother
in the day of his misfortune,
nor rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their destruction,
nor boast so much
in the day of their trouble.
13 You should not march through the gates of my people
in the day of their disaster,
nor gloat over them in their calamity
in the day of their disaster,
nor seize their wealth
in the day of their disaster.
14 You should not wait at the crossroads
to cut down their fugitives,
nor hand over their survivors
in the day of their trouble.
15 “The day of the Lord is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.
16 Just as you drank on my holy hill,
so all the nations will drink continually;
they will drink and drink
and be as if they had never been.
17 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance;
it will be holy,
and Jacob will possess his inheritance.
18 Jacob will be a fire
and Joseph a flame;
Esau will be stubble,
and they will set him on fire and destroy him.
There will be no survivors
The Lord has spoken.
19 People from the Negev will occupy
the mountains of Esau,
and people from the foothills will possess
the land of the Philistines.
They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria,
and Benjamin will possess Gilead.
20 This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan
will possess the land as far as Zarephath;
the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
will possess the towns of the Negev.
21 Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion
to govern the mountains of Esau.
And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.
Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, is an interesting read because there are some things we know for certain as we study it, and some things we don’t. For example, Obadiah doesn’t give us much autobiographical information about himself. There were twelve men named Obadiah mentioned throughout the Old Testament and scholars can’t definitively say which of them was the prophet mentioned here. Because we aren’t quite sure who wrote this book, we also can’t be sure when it was written. So what are we to make of this book we have so many questions about?
To properly understand this book, we have to understand who the Edomites are. Obadiah announces God’s judgment against them but…why? It all goes back to the division between Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25. Jacob’s descendants are God’s chosen people (the Israelites) and Esau’s descendents are the Edomites. Throughout the Old Testament the Edomites stand in opposition to the Israelites (and in turn, God). God uses Obadiah to warn the Edomites that there will be a consequence to their actions. They have mocked, stolen from, and harmed the Israelites. Sinning against the Israelites is equal to sinning against God, and the Edomites aren’t going to get away with it. Their pride before the Lord (v. 3) had caused them to think more highly of themselves than they should–now they would face the consequences while the people of Judah would experience redemption.
The ramifications of this book, in many ways, are the same today as they were over two thousand years ago. It is a warning against pride. C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity says, “The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.” Pride has a devastating effect on our lives, both individually and collectively. If pride goes unchecked in an individual, it’s going to spread from person to person and family to family until the point that it is rampant.
Scripture repeatedly warns against pride and advises humility. Obadiah is merely another example of that theme being repeated. Our response today is to ask God to give us humility in our thoughts, our words, and our actions today as we live as people marked by the Gospel.
- Why were the Edomites opposing God? What does this text tell you they were doing?
- Where in your life has pride crept in? What thoughts or behaviors have you noticed that display your pride?
- Who is the most humble person you know personally? What traits or characteristics do you notice about them?
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