Deceived by Pride

Obadiah 1:1-4

Years ago, about 30, marketing slogan has since become cliche: “Inquiring minds want to know”. To a point, good attitude to have – discernment requires seeing beyond surface, basing decisions on facts rather than feelings. Can go too far with it, though – becomes prying… into areas / things everybody does not need to know. God even said something about that: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29) Applies particularly to spiritual things, related to what what God revealed in his Word.

When considering portion of Scripture, want to satisfy curiosity – know the who, what, when, where, why relating to text and original setting. Laboring to satisfy curiosity about Obadiah yields little for results, at times more questions than answers. For example, much in common between Obadiah 1:1‐4 and Jeremiah 49:14‐16, Obadiah 1:5‐9 and Jeremiah 49:7‐11. Not possible at this point to determine reason for similarity: Obadiah borrowed from Jeremiah, other way round, both borrowed from third source perhaps God himself.

Not only no definite indications in Obadiah as to time / circumstances of writing, is also much uncertainty about author himself. According to ISBE, total of 13 different men by same name referenced in OT. Brief article closes with: “The name Obadiah was common in Israel from the days of David to the close of the Old Testament.” You think?!? So where does that leave us? Focusing on what the text itself says: a warning against enemies of God and his people in all places and times.

We do know this about writer: name means “servant of Yah”. Obadiah acted in that capacity for sure – at most all of v.1 came from him, remainder (as he said) what Lord GOD said. Obadiah simply the human instrument faithfully communicating God’s word to the world. One more thing we know: Lord GOD – adonai YHWH – overwhelming usage (90%+) in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos.

The combination Adonai Yahweh appears 310 times in the Bible, mostly in the prophetic literature, where the prophets often begin their speeches by saying, “Thus says Adonai Yahweh.”” Bernhard Lang

Is how Obadiah begins record of his vision, declaring what follows is from self-existent sovereign Lord of all things who has power and authority to carry out his purpose. So let’s look at the who, what, where in relation to prophecy concerning Edom, how relates to today’s reader.

A. who

Edomites – descendants of Esau

three events display Esau’s funadmental nature related to birthright (Gen. 25:29-34) and blessing (Gen. 27 & 28)

carnal – satisfying physical appetite and at same time despising something of immense spiritual value and avoiding responsibility – iow, profane or ungodly (Heb. 12:16)

vengeful – hated Jacob, premeditated death of brother as soon as Isaac got with program and died – barely restrained anger, holding grudge, loyalty only to self

vindictive/spiteful – when “Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac”, he took one “to be his wife in addition to the wives he had” (Gen. 28:6-8)

followed Esau’s trajectory – despising God and his people

refused to let children of Israel pass through on way to Canaan (Num. 20:14-21), mustered powerful army to threaten

never friendly relations during entire Biblical record including NT period: family of Herod from Idumean origin

Esau fought with brother even before birth, enough to frighten Rebekah; continued through generations of descendants

lived by sword, would die by sword also

declared by Isaac as part of “blessing” given to Esau – harsh people living harsh life in harsh environment

frequent conflict – at times self-governing, other times subject to other governments including Israel

Israel explicitly commanded not to maintain grudge against Edom because of close family ties (Deut. 23:7)

B. what

battle, war against Edomites by the nations

warning from God to (not “concerning”) Edom – putting Edom on notice dreadful calamity is coming… as result of God at work on behalf of his people

spoken “in hearing” of God’s people… on purpose – encourage them that God not unaware of the problem, can be counted on to deal with enemies that threaten his people

no matter what looks like “on the ground”, ultimate planner behind upcoming warfare will be God himself who sent messenger

which nations not identified that God will incite against Edom – truth is, doesn’t matter… God is one who ensures outcome according to his sovereign plan

important note: God can use any instrument to do his bidding whether “Christian” or “pagan” – many times all God does is take away restraint so they follow natural inclinations

result – thorough humiliation… at least

was a time… few presidents ago, cool and popular to be patriotic – excited about status and reputation of one nation among rest, perhaps for good reason

is more prominent in some places than others: “tour guide” at Baikal Museum took great pains to let visitors know BM’s superiority esp. to US in scientific research

God here promises to take away any cause for pride among Edomites – would be made to look small, therefore vulnerable

will be looked down on by neighbor nations, discounted as insignificant, complete loss of prestige and influence

because of pride

Ted Turner crowing after promising $1 bil. gift to the United Nations, “If only I had a little humility, I’d be perfect” – Edom in similar boat

repeatedly Bible reminds: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” – is especially true when proud insist on making trouble for God’s people

good to remember: God has not changed – is still committed to doing what is best for his people in all ages and circumstances

C. where

secure habitation

Edom situated on high plateau south of Dead Sea more than mile above sea level – literally looked down on all her neighbors

homes, places of business cut into soft sandstone cliffs – access restricted by narrow passes that could be easily defended with few men

to all appearances were absolutely secure from outside attack – stark contrast from particularly Judah, vulnerable on all sides

object of their trust

truly not even something real – Edom had no great military conquests or other achievements of note for which to be proud

confidence was in their location and its perceived security – if anyone ever foolish enough to attack, they could certainly prevail

did not believe they could ever be defeated or humiliated – expected obvious answer to question, v.3: who will bring me down? duh, no one

deceived by pride

pride (over-inflated view of self) and presumption (unwarranted arrogance) deceived them into believing what was not true

thought of themselves and their circumstances more highly/confidently than they ought because comparing against wrong standard – were looking all around, looking down, never looked up

important reminder for us, clear warning for enemies – is “the fool who says in his heart there is no God”, does all his calculations without factoring in God

is a guaranteed outcome of this kind of pride – why so? once proper view of God enters picture, pride and arrogance evaporates

D. how

God will do this

remember who is speaking: Adonai Yahweh, Sovereign Lord – have heard report from Yahweh, Yahweh who says what he will do to humiliate Edom

opposing nations will be force Edomites see and engage, their true enemy is God – as enemy of his people, God takes it personally… one aspect of union with Christ

something heathen should consider when they persecute Christians… but they won’t, for same reasons God would punish Edom: pride and presumption

for whom?

“The book is a case study of Ge 12:1–3, with two interrelated themes: (1) the judgment of Edom by God for treatment of Israel; (2) restoration of God’s people, including the territory of the Edomites.” John MacArthur

important for people of God to keep firmly in mind: this sort of situation what is in view when Paul wrote: “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God”Rom. 8:28NASB

absolutely everything that takes place anywhere in universe has 2 purposes in view: glory of God, good of God’s people

warning to the proud

God obviously had a few things in mind when showed this vision to Obadiah – intended Edomites should hear his warning of coming inevitable judgment

since God made sure to put in his word the Bible, intending it to be ongoing witness to proud in every generation

keep in mind: God always shows mercy to the truly repentant – if warning brings about change of course, God will withhold judgment

comfort to the humble

just as God looked after his people in Obadiah’s day, still looks after his children today – God will use his choice of instruments to punish his and his people’s enemies

if we are to be genuinely comforted, gotta make sure of some things:

1. our trust must have right object – God and nothing else; true regarding all of life, not just parts

2. must have proper self-image, is what it means to be humble – “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” Rom. 12:3

3. if God is our hiding place, the one we trust in for all things, we can face any circumstance with confidence… in God

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