Tag: Obadiah

Home Again

Obadiah 1:19-21

Ok to be away from home for day or two or few. Eventually get to point when really “time to go home”. Own bed, own stuff, own fill-in-the-blank just so good and right. Longer away, better it feels. Remember how patriarchs lived: Heb. 11:13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Beware of getting too comfortable – home isn’t really home. Only temporary residence.

Now… the Jews – whole idea of “strangers and pilgrims” been lost over the centuries. Have pinned much of their hope on piece of real estate in Middle East soaked with blood of countless people set on defending it or re-taking it in name of some cause. Bottom line reason – are unable to recognize spiritual truths in God’s word that underlie God’s promises. Do not grasp concept as Abraham and others did who “dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country” because they saw it as guarantee of “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God”.

Try to keep that principle in mind as we bring study of Obadiah to close – big promises God made to his covenant people had both near future and distant future in view. Near future to Obadiah and his audience, distant future still ahead of us even now. Near fulfillment would be worked out in connection with land of Canaanites, distant fulfillment in process of being brought about now. Will reach completion when “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Rev. 11:15 Will begin with central verse, then move outward to be encouraged.

A. God will preserve a remnant

“captives of this host” (20)

a particular and emphatic “this” – as if God were pointing finger and saying what would take place among specific group

not situation of “hope some of them will survive” – God had particular individuals in mind and specific future planned for them

some would escape south toward Egypt, most carried off as captives into exile – God’s purpose that exile not permanent

not accidental, God planned it that way

certainly God would use human agents in providing for their survival – think back to Rahab and spies, how God protected

neither Rahab nor circumstances prophesied by Obadiah surprise to God – divinely planned for good of those people, for instruction of later peoples (like us)

redeems a people out of ruins of Israel

by early 6th cent. BC not much left of nation of Israel – capitols of both Judah and Israel in ruins, few straggling Jews far outnumbered by Gentiles resettled in area, surrounding peoples whittled off pieces to add to own territories

Sargon took many Jews to exile in Nineveh area (600 miles away NE), province of Media E of Baghdad; Nebuchadnezzar… several deportings to Babylon 500 miles E; others escaped or deported to Egypt 200 miles Sw

God intended to preserve them distinct from other peoples, bring a remnant back to their home, establish as cohesive people

redeems a people out of ruins of mankind

God just as able to redeem his elect “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) in spiritual ruins and dispersed throughout world

mankind as whole no better off than Jews when dispersed among nations and powerless to reconstitute themselves as nation

many of Israel’s neighbors so assimilated into other people groups eventually impossible to distinguish – never happens with God and his chosen remnant: He can pick his elect out of any crowd

B. The remnant will possess the land v.19-20

why this list of places? – probably meaningful to Israelites of Obadiah’s day, but us? …must be more than just names on map!

a. Edom v.19a

not really a surprise Edom is first – their mistreatment of Israel going to boomerang, their territory will be handed over to Judah

Edomites will not just lose what they had taken from others, will lose own territory and… one of Israel’s perennial tormentors fully and finally overcome to trouble no more

b. Philistia v.19b

similar future awaits Philistia, another enduring thorn in side of Israel for centuries – would become land of God’s people according to his purpose… those who had escaped captivity by fleeing toward Egypt

clearly Satan and his agents will be unable to overcome people of God – matters not how persistent, brutal, powerful they are

in fact, as we saw in previous section, God will use his people as his instrument to deal with enemies, turning enemies’ evil behavior back on them

c. Ephraim and Samaria v.19c

those who had been dispossessed would return, regain possession of what had once been theirs – loss only temporary according to divine design

not a situation of regrouping in different place or on smaller scale – would be both restoration and enlargement of remnant beyond original size and strength

d. Gilead v.19d

God’s promised blessings not based on size or strength – Benjamin youngest son of Israel, smallest tribe and land inheritance

not only recovering original allotment, taking possession of significant territory “across the river” – areas once under enemy control added to domain of God’s people

no indication given about how all this will take place… whether military operations or not – seems to go without saying, God will make it happen… language indicates foregone conclusion, it shall be done

e. Canaan as far as Zarephath v. 20a

finally, area intended for God’s people to occupy will be free from hostile Canaanites, will be place of refuge for those who come

includes Zarephath where Elijah found food and shelter during time of famine – where God demonstrated in unmistakeable way his never-ending provision for needs of his children

f. the Negev v.20b

great distance no obstacle to God working out his purpose – Sepharad’s exact location uncertain, but thought to be north or east of Assyria, hundreds of miles away

God able to gather his people together from four corners of earth, resettle them wherever he chooses, here the South, Negev, desert area south of Israel to northern end of Gulf of Aqaba

iow, they will have more than they had

when God restores his people as a people in own land, is to better conditions than when they were taken captive

after restoration will no longer suffer from harassment of evil neighbors and enemies – Edomites, Canaanites, Philistines

boundaries will be enlarged from what they had been – encroachment by warring neighbors will be pushed back

C. God will establish His kingdom v.21

all takes place under umbrella of Christ’s kingdom – all of OT a period of preparation for coming of Christ, his church / kindgom

redeems the remnant so he can rule them

God never has in past, never will in future redeem people out of exile so they can continue doing their own thing their own way

principle applies whether out of slavery in Egypt, exile in Babylon/other territories, or bondage in sin – redeemed to serve God

unlike way it works too often in human situations (debt bondage, sex trafficking, etc) God does not deliver his people from one slave master to turn over to another – delivers them from slave master so he will be their master

service covers spectrum of life – are to serve God in worship, in day-to-day life under authority of King, no other gods, no other ultimate authority in any part of life

of course, are other authorities in our lives, but they are lesser authorities than God and, like us, subject to him

Isa. 42:8I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.”

won’t be a “here we go again”

repeated theme of Judges — “The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. They forgot the Lord their God and worshiped idols. The Lord was furious with Israel and turned them over to a neighboring king/nation. When the Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, he raised up a deliverer.”

once Israel came out of Babylonian exile, never again worshiped foreign / false gods; have their issues, but that kind of false worship not one of them

once God redeems one of his people out of bondage in sin, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” (Col. 1:13)

a one-way street / transaction when person is truly converted – true child of God will never be disowned, will never seek emancipation from Heavenly Father

just as Israel prevails over enemies, so church will also

Israel had ups and downs throughout 1500 years of national existence, both individually and nationally – following God closely at times, other times wandering away

church has had similar experience over last 2000 years – times when she really stood for the truth, other times when light of truth pretty hard to detect

applies at all levels of the church – church in the world, individual local churches, individuals in local churches

church has many enemies in the world, all serving as willing instruments of Satan who does his utmost to enlarge his territory

can be certain that just as God enabled Israel to prevail over enemies, he will enable church to not only survive, also to daily take territory away from Satan

will be the people of God alone who hear “well done”, who inherit eternal life and a completely renewed earth to live on, when church militant becomes the church triumphant

when Lord Jesus “hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power …and has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor. 15:24-25)

Meanwhile, not there yet, still here – work to do, life to live, need to be Jesus’ hands and feet bringing Gospel truth to neighbors.

The Day of the Lord Is Near

Obadiah 1:15-18

Number of different ways people deal with potentially stressful situations; you know, those times you know something will go down, not sure when or exactly how, may involve some kind of conflict. Some think about nothing else, can’t eat or sleep, stomach in knots/nervous wreck until it’s over. Attitude may depend on their part in situation: bystander, participant, probable winner or loser. Some do best they can to be properly prepared to best of ability. Others, although well-informed, act as though no care in world, going on merry way heedlessly as before, thinking somehow is of no concern to them.

Not just court dates, custody hearings, parent-teacher or job interviews, physician consultation that fit this kind of circumstance. Warnings described or presented in God’s word fit that category, responses parallel those just identified too. Since God is good Father, expects certain kind of response to his warnings – not like parent who says to child “next time”… for twenty-third time. God says what he means, means what he says, expects ones to whom he speaks to pay attention, then respond appropriately.

Israel failed to do that, consequently overthrow by Assyrians 722 BC. Same for Judah, consequently Babylonian captivity century and a bit later. Going 3 for 3 here – would also be true for Edom: would completely ignore God’s gracious warnings, reject any application of prophetic message to them. God knew that, was part of his sovereign plan, yet sent prophets to declare truth anyway. Is multi-part message here in Obadiah – kind of like multi-part business forms… one for customer, one for accounting, one for shipping, etc.

In these 4 verses is message from Almighty God for Edom, for all the nations, and for Jewish people (by extension, all God’s people). Will be day of judgment coming, also a day of deliverance. Which it is determined in part by response to God’s warning and rod of correction. Like most messages of judgment from God in his Word, a gracious element included as well – not all doom and gloom!

A. day of judgment v.15

approaching, not present… yet

God graciously warns friends and enemies – there is day of reckoning coming (DOL), as certain as God is God, has kept promises throughout history

two part warning to enemies: you are not prepared, you need to get prepared, you still have time but not indefinitely

strong exhortation to friends: make certain you are prepared… and stay that way – stakes are not same for friends as enemies, yet… friends should still take notice

lex talionis

“eye for an eye” – “as you have done” – punishment is to match crime; consider this also from enemy/friend perspectives

certainly many news items about God’s enemies – what will this verse mean for them given their often public actions

now what does that mean for his friends, esp. when consider that every sin must be rightly punished – all of that laid on Christ

no mercy, only justice

those who remain in their sins, in view here rebellious Edomites will experience God’s perfect justice based on his perfect knowledge

no consideration given, no relaxing of sentence because of bad parenting, rotten ex-wife, playground bullying… no excuses

God cannot simply show mercy toward sinners on a whim – his righteous justice requires full payment without exception

prefigures final judgment

previous days of judgment God can show mercy to those who repent… in time – not so for Last Day, no turning back once final judgment begins

horrors of day itself will be bad enough, won’t hold candle to judgment as in the real thing… for eternity, as lifetime of sin added to by eternity of frustrated angry rebellion

God has given sufficient warning of that Day already, will arrive without any further advance warning – means no guarantees… of next moment, much less tomorrow

fear can be good motivator – God will be pleased if fear of judgment leads to genuine repentance; majority of people alive today don’t want God, are convinced they don’t need him

Bill Bright, Cru, 1952, 4 Spiritual Laws – #1 “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” – if that’s all, why would anyone need God

have spent far too much time convincing lost people of God’s love, not enough of God’s justice and what it means for them

B. day for all nations v.16

perspective widens out, whole panorama

begins with Edom particularly, then camera pulls back to include Judah, surrounding nations, focus shifts away from Edom

one particular kind of drinking in view here – drinking cup of God’s wrath: not simply external experience to be endured, one that involves whole person

Judah drank cup of wrath and survived

started with loss of northern kingdom, progressed through multi-year seige by Nebuchadnezzar and multiple deportations to Babylon ending with destruction of Jerusalem incl. temple

was certainly period of great hardship for every individual involved whether (using our language) among saved or lost

did not end with destruction of Jews because God had purpose to preserve a remnant – would raise up nation again from ruins of old one, through that line would result promised Seed

for Jewish people, cup of God’s wrath intended to correct, discipline, purify – did purify from sin of idol worship as had previously

the nations will drink the cup and be destroyed

experiencing cup of God’s wrath more intense, more drawn out for other nations; also results in different outcome: destruction

would be some particular individuals among nations who would be preserved from destruction, would not continue to exist as distinct people after judgment ended

would be removed from world stage without leaving any trace of their existence – hard to envision a sadder end: “they shall be as though they had never been”

is both warning and comfort: God not content to only carry out justice on evil people, he brings retributive justice to evil nations

God will not “turn blind eye” to national evil indefinitely, either theirs or ours – comforting to know that, also incentive to be good citizens

see Isa. 51:22-23

Judah “survived” because God took away cup before was empty; God said they had enough, rest could be for enemies

God can show mercy like that because Lord Jesus drank cup of God’s wrath until empty – nothing left for his people to endure

all those who die in their sins have that to look forward to – they have no one to drink it but themselves, Satan has his own cup

C. day of deliverance v.17

Obadiah looks further to future, turns focus more particularly on Israel and Judah… iow, God’s people incl. church

on Mount Zion will be deliverance

holy place in holy city no place of security at time of Babylonian sack of the city – sanctuary provided no protection

promise some would escape, some would be delivered and place of deliverance would be Mt. Zion – not in Judah, not Jerusalem, but Mt. Zion

pictures place of deliverance from God’s wrath as well as that of Babylonians – those who have right heart and are in right place have nothing to fear

on Mount Zion will be holiness

reference here to more than geographical location – more important, what it stands for: place of worship of true God, Yahweh

yes, Jerus. temple would be rebuilt, site purified and rededicated to proper worship – especially important for returning exiles

place of worship also where followers of true God instructed in ways of holiness, increase in personal holiness thru means of grace

on Mount Zion will be blessing

one more connection with the church – is place of blessing: where God meets with his people with intention of blessing

not tied to geography, building style or appointments – Mt. Zion ultimately stands for all places where body of believers gather and worship true God

promise for first hearers included those concepts in addition to promise of restoration to the land following 70 year exile

also assured them when exiles did return, would be to place where some of brethren already lived… those who escaped

D. Edom no exception v.18

Jacob and Joseph will prevail

Jacob = Judah; Joseph = Israel; God will surely preserve a faithful remnant from among all tribes of Israel through their exile

light may be dim, even barely discernible but God will maintain the fire, he will not quench the flame because he has purpose for them – “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench;” (Isa. 42:3)

Esau will be consumed

may be ascendant at time of Obadiah’s ministry but would not continue that way forever – in fact, appears God intends to use his people in downfall of Edom — would happen certainly if not immediately

utter destruction – no survivor

as a people, Edom would be obliterated – no longer self-governing, no longer even distinct people group; many would lose lives, remainder assimilated into surrounding people groups

for real??

is that just on God’s part? absolutely, God can never act unjustly – to maintain his righteous justice, must deal justly with his enemies; after all, they would be happy if God died

except for those who were assimilated/adopted into Jacob – once part of true people of God, no longer under threat of judgment

We must do our part – present a right view of God to saved and lost alike. Esp. the lost, do our best to be like Evangelist of Pilgrim’s Progress – flee the wrath to come!

Your Day Will Come

Obadiah 1:8-14

Last time God’s prophet Obadiah charged Edom with sin of pride, in particular: pride of wealth, pride of alliance. In first verse of our text (v.8) primary “aggressor” against Edom comes to foreground – God. On the ground would look like surrounding nations / world powers taking out their aggression on Israel, then Judah, now Edom. God intended Israelites and Edomites not be misled into thinking those were only powers involved. Assyria and Babylon and others were acting as God’s agents, the human instruments God used to bring about his divine purpose.

Another highly significant truth here: all described directly and indirectly in Obadiah not simply social ills, government expansionism, military aggression. Fundamental issue God is dealing with: sin… against him, against his people. There is also the sin of God’s people being addressed, too. Edom pretty good picture of “six things the Lord hates” – read Prov. 6:16-19

God goes after Edom because they are behaving badly toward his people. God is displeased with Edom because they behave contrary to his character/expectations. But what about Assyria or Babylon? = why do the wicked prosper? God’s response: I’ll take care of them, see Habakkuk. God allows nothing to hinder his redemptive plan – not attacks, opposition, hindrances from those outside the church, nor sinful behavior of those within the church.

Immediate focus of attention here is Edom, their behavior toward God’s people which ultimately is sin against God. Edom’s behavior fueled by pride, something everyone can relate to from personal experience. Here, God identifies two more sources of pride that he will strip away from Edom, then lists out eight specific actions that were harmful to Judah and ultimately Edom.

A. two more things v.8-9

God still speaking, yet with difference

through v.7: this is what will happen to you; v.8 & 9: this what I will do to you – might be able to blame other woes on neighbors, not these grievous losses – God rightly gets full credit

pride of wisdom

know Edomites were descndants of Esau; not so commonly known is who 1st generation Edomites were – read Gen. 36:8-11; identified in Job 4:1 as being from Teman

see even in that generation – endowed with good mind and practical wisdom but… did not include right understanding about God – Job 42:7the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right””

not hard to imagine how their wisdom deteriorated from there in following generations, yet still maintained as source of pride

devastating to culture to experience brain drain – happened in numerous places in 20th cent., was what God would do to Edom

pride of power

relied on location for much of their security, alliances with powerful neighbors for some – third element, their own military

might only take few stout men to defend access to city – doesn’t matter when there no stout men; would be left totally vulnerable to attack and defeat by God’s purposeful actions

B. summary indictment and verdict v.10

charge: violence toward a brother

God says all of that to say this: the crime most serious in God’s eyes – sinful behavior toward their brother… Judah & Israel

more problematic because, at same time they were sinning against Jacob’s children, God was demonstrating great compassion

God’s “default” to show mercy long past when punishment is justified; he expects people to do same, esp. toward family

verdict: covered with shame

used to be cliche: bigger they are, harder they fall; for Edom – greater their pride, more humiliating their downfall

evidence of their guilt – completely covered in shame, no redeeming qualities visible as true nature of evil deeds revealed

sentence: cut off forever

followed by fearsome pronouncement: cut off forever; would be a day when because of determined rebellion, would cease to exist as distinct people

must remember couple things: God speaking through his prophet Obadiah to Edomite people as nation, a group; does not mean every individual Edomite guilty as charged, facing same doom

also: God always leaves door open for repentance – if threatened consequences bring about positive change, wonderful

C. specific charges v.11-14

11a On the day that you stood aloof, …11c Even you were like one of them.

bystanders to injustice not without guilt – stood on the other side (and simply watched) while city overthrown and plundered

attitude of prideful aloofness – could have gone to aid of brothers but didn’t want to get their hands dirty, nothing in it for them anyway

in God’s view, even though fingerprints may not have been on weapon, were just as responsible / guilty as those involved – no neutral territory in God’s sight

12a You should not have looked on the day of your sibling,

looking down with contempt on Judah for predicament they had gotten themselves into and thinking never happen to us

no nation is above reproach, certainly true of Edom in light of evil behaviors seen already in Amos – unjust taking of human life, involvement in human trafficking

true also on individual level – every person truly destined for heaven is sinner saved by grace from merciful loving God

12b You should not have rejoiced over the Judahites

Edomites actually took pleasure in misfortune of their brothers – loss of possessions, freedom, and for many, loss of life

without question a sin-corrupted and twisted mind that enjoys seeing harm come to others – think 1st-century Rome, blood-thirsty mobs at the arena

should rejoice when God displays his righteous justice, when his truth is vindicated; far cry from joy over misfortune of others

12c You should not have raised your voice (to boast)

used downfall of Judah as platform on which to exalt themselves, boast in their good fortune in contrast with their brothers

is a hollow victory that has to come at expense of others – Edomites actually viewing Judah as their enemy, saying things about them they never would dare to say when Judah was healthy and strong

13a You should not have entered into the gate of my people

perhaps didn’t show up until after Judah’s defeat was certain, then entered the city looking for what was left behind of value

no thought of compassionate care for sick and injured, no intention to meet their need, intent only on feeding their greed

13b You should not have looked in a gloating way

takes rejoicing over misfortune to next level – what’s in it for me, how can I benefit from their calamity, what they had to abandon

turning blind eye toward human cost of conflict, looking only toward what would advance their own cause or position

13c You should not have taken its wealth

didn’t actually throw rocks through the windows but were close on heels of the mob, cleaning out inventory, profiting from other’s hardship and loss

“to the victor belong the spoils” may be mankind’s approach to conflict but is not God’s way – all Judah had for material possessions owned by God and entrusted to them, not Edom

14a You should not have stood at the crossroads To finish off its refugees.

Edom added their resources to those of aggressor to cut off escape from conflict – blocking road to safety, same as centuries earlier: blocked escape from Egypt, now blocking escape to Egypt

this time not simply an inconvenience – put lives of escapees from Judah in real peril, especially if Edom “cut off” people, not road

14b You should not have incarcerated Its survivors

rounding up those who escaped capture by enemy, turning them back over to (probably) Babylon – e.g. China built detention center for N Korean refugees, ultimate goal: repatriation

only “crime” they committed was being Jewish, treated by Edomites in harsh unjust way totally unbecoming to brothers

on that day you did this

every statement “you should not” = an implied “you should have” done the opposite – grieved with them, aided them, protected them, given them refuge….

prophet in effect telling them: you have had your day, that day when mistreated your brother – another day is coming… see v.15

D. two lessons

comfort: God protects us from our enemies

means God protects his people from his enemies and theirs – must remember those enemies are really agents of Satan

God does not protect from all harm… some of it he uses for our good, his glory; he does prevent Satan/agents from achieving his goal, destruction of Christ and his church

easy to lose site of that piece re: persecution against Christians here and around the world – gotta remember nature of real battle and its goal

warning: don’t be like them

should model God and his character – constantly depending on God to supply all resources we need to live pleasing to him

also need to be mindful – spiritual warfare has human consequences; must uphold brothers and sisters in prayer, lend helping hand as God gives opportunity

most of all – must keep cross of Christ prominent — that prevents pride of all sorts, supplies right framework with which to relate to others whether saved or lost

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

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