What can we learn from "the vision of Obadiah [and the words of] the Lord God concerning Edom" through 21 verses in 2023?
1. God rules in the Kingdom of Men
Obadiah 1:1-2,18 "The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised... there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it."
God reveals how he felt about Jacob and Esau and those that follow in their respective ways. Romans 9:13-14 says "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid." Promises were made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
God reminds us in Daniel 4:17 that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the lowest of men". If we as individuals, communities or countries go against God's will and ways we will be removed.
2. God hates Pride
Obadiah 1:3 says "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?"
The Scriptures tells us in many places that "the Lord detests all the proud of heart" and "pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:5,18).
3. God is the Righteous, Wise and Mighty Judge and is in Divine Control of All
Obadiah 1:4-9 "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord... Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter."
God is patient and longsuffering and gives us as individuals, communities and countries opportunity and time to follow his ways. He is in control and Romans 2 asks us to consider whether we can "escape the judgment of God?... But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds" (Romans 2:2-6)
4. God Cares for His People Israel and All Those Who Love Him
Obadiah 1:10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
Zechariah 2:8-9 reminds us that "whoever touches you [Israel] touches the apple of his eye –I will surely raise my hand against them". If we try to frustrate the will of God we will not succeed.
5. God's Standard Requires Us to Be Compassionate
Obadiah 1:12 "But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress."
God's standard is one that is compassionate to the stranger and asks us to "not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles. Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." (Proverbs 24:17-18). Jesus reminds us "if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).
6. The Day of the Lord is at Hand: Choose Your Side
Obadiah 1:15, 17 "For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head...But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions."
Obadiah reminds us that Israel and Jerusalem are at the centre of his plan for the earth (Genesis 12:2-3) and that no one can escape his will and purpose. Whether we are on the side of Edom or on the side of Jacob is for us to decide. Jesus is coming back (Acts 1:11)!
Inspired by the Bible Class by K. Crane and the 5 Powerful Lessons from the Little Book of Obadiah