Of all the prophets Obadiah can be likened to John the Immerser as ‘a voice crying in the wilderness.’ Matthew 3:3. Obadiah’s was a major message for all to understand and heed just as with the forerunner of our blessed Messiah, being the only way of salvation.
The over riding message of the prophet is that anti-Semitism will always bring God’s judgement and the history of the Hebrews who became Israel attest to this very fact.
God’s promise to Abraham was and still is “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Genesis 12:1-3. This shows us that God has an irrevocable covenant with His chosen and called people which the nations will one day understand!
The name Obadiah means ‘worshipper of Yahweh‘ and ‘servant of Jehovah’ and he is the 4th of the Minor Prophets but his message from God is not so minor in that it is a worldwide message for all the enemies of Israel. Within the context of this little book the Word of the Lord was directed against the land of Edom which is modern day Jordan.
At the time it was a prophetic message to the descendants of Esau known as the Edomites who were a wild and godless people. They looked to their own might as they dwelt in inaccessible hills and heights (Obadiah 1:3), able to fend off large armies. Esau was the brother of Jacob and so we see two different groups of people descended from Jacob and Esau. Not only do we have a tale of two brothers but we can also see a tale of two cities, Jerusalem the capital of Judah and Petra the capital of Edom.
God’s summing up of the situation was quite simple “Jacob have I loved but Esau I hate”
Malachi 1:2-3. Esau had a taste for the carnal, exotic and sensual choosing a daughter from a local pagan Canaanite and a daughter of banished Ishmael. Esau simply strayed away and then stayed away partaking of the spirit of the age, becoming even more wilder!
His life started with a struggle within the womb against his brother Jacob and this character trait grew with the years.
Esau’s descendants soon developed an unbrotherly attitude towards the Hebrews as Numbers 20:14-21 and Deuteronomy 2:1-8 record for us. King David was successful in bringing them to account as he conquered them and made them pay tribute fulfilling the prophecy that the older brother would serve the younger – Genesis 25:21-23. However, this simply made the rebellious Edomites detest the Jews even more and an ancient hatred continues to this day!
Although the prophecy is referred to as The Book of Obadiah it is almost like a memo or a small pamphlet, there are no chapters and only 21 verses. So many believers hardly read
it anymore and yet it has momentous implications towards the enemies of Israel and clearly shows Israel’s ultimate victory in the Lord – verse 21. From Him will come their salvation, strength and security. In the Lord Yeshua they will have succour, solace and eternal satisfaction. They will be His servants, sanctified and singing the song of the redeemed.
In verse 1 the prophet Obadiah has a vision from the Lord and so declares “Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom ….…”
The next 8 verses proclaims Edom’s doom and destruction from the hand of the Lord. He promises to make them small and despised in verse 2. “Behold, I will make you small among the nations, you shall be greatly despised.”
What was the Edomites main sin, simply their pride. Verse 3 tells us – “The pride of your heart has deceived you.”
Pride is known as the sin of sins, it turned Lucifer into Satan. (Isaiah 14:14). He deceived himself into thinking he could become like the Most High who had in the first place created him as a Cherub.
Verses 4 to 9 pronounce how the Lord will deal with Edom because of her ways. In verse 4 we have picture language of how even if they ascend like the eagle or see themselves as stars set high and secure they will be brought down very low by the Lord.
As a small nation they could control the trade routes in the area that passed by or through her borders. They were able to levy a tax of safe passage upon caravans taking goods to or from Egypt or up to Greece etc. The real stronghold of Edom was Petra, its caves horded all their levies from traders passing through this mountainous region. But the Lord describes how thieves and robbers and her so called friends shall turn upon her and plunder her treasures. Not only that but the Lord would destroy the wise amongst them, their understanding would vanish and then her mighty men would become dismayed as destruction came upon them all.
Petra would become a forgotten place until 1812 when the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt came across its 4,500 foot narrow passage leading into the city area. The Edomites had worked hard as their dwellings were hewn out of the sandstone rock.
Dozens of tunnels and rooms were cut into Petra to build a formidable city. It is said a 100 could hold back 1,000’s if they were besieged but the Lord was already preparing an army to destroy her. Neither her sages nor her soldiers would be able to save her.
First the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar took the rocky ramparts of Edom through military prowess and ingenuity and finally through the Romans the Edomites lost their national character and identity altogether. The Lord God Almighty brought the two greatest empires in history and her armies upon Edom. The prophet foresaw the plunder and the slaughter of Edom, Petra became a slaughterhouse as the people became trapped at the end of their ravines and in their caves. God’s judgement was total annihilation upon a people who showed no mercy towards His people. Sadly, the nations have not learned the lessons of history nor stood in awe of God’s power and majesty and so they have an appointment with Him in the days ahead. Truly, the Lord has a controversy with the nations and their ways as Jeremiah records. (Jeremiah 25:31).
From these verses and those within Numbers and Deuteronomy we can see that Edom had committed three unpardonable sins:-
Verse 10 tells us – “For violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever.”
Verse 11 shows how Edom stood to one side and indeed took the other side encouraging the Chaldeans to plunder and desecrate Jerusalem.
Verse 12 can be contrasted and compared to the meaning of Proverbs 17:5, “He that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.”
Verse 13 – illustrates the wickedness of the heart. The Edomites came swarming down into Jerusalem cheering the Babylonians on and then taking plunder for themselves.
Verse 14 – shows how they then caught the remnant of Jews fleeing from the city and led them back to the Babylonians as captives, shackled and distraught, all hope now gone!
These two verses were given for that time period but also for the future. Here we have the Word of the Lord now spoken towards all those who would come against the apple of His eye. The Jews are His people and any chastisement any correction, any rebuke or judgement are His and His alone. We can see God’s view on this In Zechariah 1:15. “I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry (with My people), and they (the nations) helped but with evil intent.”
Verse 15 tells us “For the Day of the Lord upon all the nations is near. As you have done it shall be done to you. Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.”
In other words with the measure you measure it shall be measured back unto you! This is a divine principle, measure for measure. God is a God of righteousness and justice.
Verse 16 – Amplifies verse 15 with detail and fact and how the measure will be returned!
Verse 17 – speaks of deliverance for the Jews and
Verse 18 – speaks of destruction for her enemies from the hand of God.
Verse 19 – shows us the Land Covenant finally and fully fulfilled.
Verse 20 – shows us the revival and restoration of the children of Israel.
Verse 21 – shows us the Kingdom of our Lord and Messiah.
For such a small book within the Old Testament, indeed Obadiah being the smallest we can see the whole plan and future for Israel and the destruction of her enemies with Edom’s being total!
A study of Amos and Joel, of Jeremiah and Daniel, of Zechariah and of Revelation gives us a very clear and concise picture of the end times scenario and outcome.
The Jews are returning to the Land. The Redeemer will return to Zion and all Israel shall be saved as Romans chapter 11 states.
Repentance and revival will take place with Israel’s renewal and restoration lasting for a 1,000 glorious years.
This planet will see equality and equity from the rule and reign of our Lord Jesus.
As it is written so shall it be. Maranatha – come Lord come.
Date : 02/02/2020