Pride Repaid

Obadiah 1:5-7

More prophecies spoken against Edom than any other foreign nation – 12 incl. Obadiah by one count. (Pett) “There are other oracles against Edom in Isaiah 34: 5– 15; Jeremiah 49: 7– 22; Ezekiel 25: 12– 14; 35; Amos 1: 11– 12; and Malachi 1: 2– 5. Edom is the subject of more separate oracles against foreign nations and more brief or passing hostile references in the prophetical books than any other nation (Stuart 1987, 404; cf. Joel 3:19; Isa. 11:14; Jer. 25:21; Lam. 4:21).” Tremper Longman

Bible doesn’t make explicitly plain why Edom received so much more negative attention from God compared to other nearby nations. Is reasonable to think was connected to common ancestry between Israel and Edom.

“The repeated use of the name Esau (vv. 6, 8, 9, 18, 21) and the description of Jacob as his brother (vv. 10, 12) move us beyond the realm of international politics and into the world of family relationships.” Longman

Edom not necessarily any more or less evil than other nations. However, because of familial ties their behavior more reprehensible in God’s sight. The men whose name they were known by not only brothers, were twin brothers. Hard to think of any closer relationship than that, yet the children of Esau treated children of Israel as sworn enemies. That it was so offensive to God contains lesson in its own right: God expected Israelites and Edomites to treat one another like brothers, we must treat brothers and sisters in Christ with similar consideration.

Obadiah “reveals the fury of God’s redemptive work against pride. A foundational revelation of the precious truth that redemption is deadly to pride, and pride is deadly to redemption. Presents a clear-cut choice between deadly pride and the humility that bows all to God’s redemptive purposes. The call is away from all forms of pride, since all pride is “anti-redemptive” pride.” Parker

The proud unconverted sinner believes has no need for a redeemer, can do all necessary on his own to merit salvation. The one who has been gloriously converted knows he has nothing of his own that is worthy of pride, can boast only in Christ. Edomites like many not only had pride in wealth, also had great pride in choice of allies. To all appearances, was accompanied by utter rejection of God and any dependence on him.

A. Pride of wealth v.5-6

two pictures of destruction

robbers – typical behavior of thieves described: even most desperate thief rarely if ever takes everything not fastened down

have particular motive – either desire particular item(s) because of perceived value (artwork, precious gem stone, drugs) or because can easily be converted into something useful

virtually all thefts have some sort of limiting criteria… except this plundering by theft, pillaging, knows no boundaries

grape-gatherers – professional harvesters don’t take every last grape… an inefficient way to do job, unnecessarily time consuming

initial culling of seconds takes place in field – speeds up harvesting and later processing, not as much sorting

this harvest nearly as devastating as plague of locusts, stripping everything that resembles fruit from vines, leaving nothing but leaves behind

why this imagery to warn of destruction

God frequently repays sinful behavior in kind – Gal. 6:7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

robbers and harvesters kinds of people readily understood by Edomites – their character, behavior, results of their “work”

by describing specific outcome, Edomites would easily get picture God intended to communicate: total devastation – “oh, how you will be cut off (ravaged, HCSB)”

stealing all they can possibly get, far more than need – greed

implication that Edomites behaving worse than worst robbers – not stopping when need is satisfied, greed is never satisfied

preying on others by means of dishonest practices in their dealings, definitely with neighbor Israel, probably with others

not leaving anything for the needy – cruelty

taking from those who cannot adequately supply their own need… simply because they can, not because is justified

can also apply to impersonal relationships – e.g., clear-cutting large swath of land, stripping off topsoil, mining all gravel, leaving land barren / unable to produce

hiding / hoarding rather than using

have acquired more than needed, perhaps more than could ever be used/spent in multiple lifetimes, keep trying to add

perpetually increasing personal wealth as means of security, thinking net worth equals self worth – value as person defined by value of assets

net worth fed by ill-gotten gains becomes source of pride – they must be better than next guy, look at size of their pile

how is it justified

God would have provided abundantly had they trusted him

since they relied on self / personal ability to amass wealth, God justly separates Edomites from source of security and pride

and… he’s giving ideal opportunity to seek him

once they have lost everything, would make sense to seek help from One who gives everything – trust God who never fails

note: is 180redemption opposite of pride in that it puts everyone else and their needs ahead of self

B. Pride of alliance v.7

picture of deception

especially true among shady dealers – two people make deal, each thinks got the better of the other, confident would recognize if they were being deceived

not certain who all parties to alliance were – Ps. 137:7-9 indicates Edom was allied with Babylon prior to conquest of Judah and subsequent captivity

Edom described by Psalmist as filling role of cheerleaders for Babylon at destruction of Jerusalem, rejoicing in its overthrow

results in betrayal

entered into alliance for purposes of peace and protection – don’t know the terms except that Edomites expected long-term peace

no strangers to conflict in northern kingdom, various deportations by Assyrians during time of Sennacherib in 8th cent. BC

Edom confident her alliances with others would prevent that from happening to her – could remain securely in own homes

instead trusted friends betrayed, set traps, expelled them from own territory – find out too late was all a pretense

how is it justified

as charged by prophet Amos, had engaged in other financial / political alliances, engaged in human trafficking on large scale against Jewish brothers

had gloated over Israel’s misfortune at hands of Babylonian army – once again… poetic justice from hand of all-knowing God

God’s treatment was right, even though appearing ineffective

may seem like overly harsh treatment of proud people – goes to show how much God abhors pride, self- reliance, injustice toward others, and will eventually punish it

final word from Edom – Mal. 1:4Even though Edom has said, “We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places,” Thus says the LORD of hosts: “They may build, but I will throw down; They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, And the people against whom the LORD will have indignation forever.”

God will continually be Edom’s enemy because Edom is incorrigible, persistently refusing to bend the knee to Sovereign Lord

C. avoiding temptation to pride

remember the source of all things

1 Cor. 4:7For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

only God creates out of nothing – best man can do: re-create or rearrange from materials God supplies, including ability to do so

like with Edom, God the original source of all they possessed; also the one who orchestrated their loss of all things

treat wealth and relationships as means to an end, not the end

Matt. 6:33“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

yes, God blesses his children but not solely for their individual benefit – read 2 Cor. 1:3-6 – talking about strengthening / encouraging, principle applies to other provision from God also

all God entrusts to us intended to be used for own benefit and bring glory to God as we use in ways pleasing to him

think about and use resources to actively further the Gospel

how we can use time, treasure, talent to build up the saints and lead others to Christ, all in full dependence on Christ

more we recognize and acknowledge our need, at same time recognizing God’s provision, less room there is for pride to take root

at same time we gain better understanding of just how precious Lord Jesus is to his people in all their circumstances

 

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