Obadiah: The servant of the Lord-- His prophecy against Edom and the descendants of Esau
A message from the servant of the LORD
Scripture reading: Genesis 25:19-34
Today we are going to study the Book of Obadiah together.
-The name Obadiah means "servant of the Lord". It was a common name
-The Book of Obadiah is a prophecy of judgment against the nation of Edom
-The Edomite were the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob-- the father of Israel
-This book was probably written after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. At this the Edomites sinned greatly against their
brother by helping out the Babylonians and making the suffering of the Israelites worse
The history and struggle of Jacob and Esau is a long one. It is recounted in Genesis 25-36 and then picked
up again after God brings Israel out of Egypt
-There struggle began in womb
-There struggle manifested itself in parental favortism (Jacob being the apple of his mothers eye and Esau being the apple of
his father's eye)
-There struggle was highlighted by their character flaws (Jacob was deceptive and Esau was arrogant-- selling his birthright
for a bowl of soup)
-There struggle came to a head when Jacob conspired with his mother to steal his father's blessing. This made Esau so
angry that he tried to kill Jacob- with the result that Jacob ran away from home. Twenty years later Jacob returned home
and apologized to his brother. After that they parted ways peacefully and yet warily
-Fast forward 450 years: Israel is coming out of Egypt after a long time of slavery and oppression-- headed to the Promised
land. Problem: The descendants of Esau were between them and the Promised Land. Rather than letting them pass through,
the Edomites brought a large army to the border and blocked their passage.
-Fast forward again to the Fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. As Jerusalem is being destroyed by the Babylonians the Edomites
join in and attack their brothers. Not only do they attack and kill some of their brothers, they robbed them, made fun of
them, gloated over their misery and handed them over to the Babylonians. The Book of Obadiah addresses this sin- the
point being that God announces their destruction because of it.
With a bit of the history of Jacob and Esau -the fathers of Israel and Edom- in mind, let's read the book of Obadiah together.
READ text and note that the struggle between Jacob and Esau manifests itself in the life of Christ-- for Herod (who
condemned Jesus to death) was an Edomite.
Lessons, principles, applications
In some respects the Book of Obadiah is a sad book because it serves as a reminder of what can happen
when family relations "go south"
As mentioned, the father of Israel was Jacob and the father of Edom was Esau. They were brothers-- twin brothers. Brothers
are not supposed to be at war with each other. Brothers are supposed to look out for each other (many times I have told
Scott, as countless other parents have told their children - keep an eye on your sister, make sure she is safe, don't bug her).
You are supposed to be able to count on your family.
With the sad family history of Israel and Edom in mind there are 2 related principles I want to draw your
1. Make your best effort to get along with your family
Be the best brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparent that you can be. Try to make your family
work. Be a peacemaker in your family. Remember that you are called to be salt and light to your family.
1 Timothy 5:8 says; "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the
faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
2. Realize that because of Christ we who are His followers are FAMILY.
It is a responsibility of ours to look out for each other and the best interests of the other. We are bound to love one another
and to care for one another- forgiving each other when wronged, and not holding grudges.
We have 2 families: A physical one and a spiritual one
I'm reminded of the song "I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God"
3. Be on your guard against the sin of PRIDE
-In verses 1-9 of Obadiah the PRIDE of the Edomites is the dominant motif.
-Because of their pride, the judgment of God was coming. Hence Obadiah speaks of God who is SOVEREIGN OVER ALL
PEOPLE, NATIONS, AND THINGS, rousing the nations against Edom v.1--
We are also are reminded that God hates pride
In Proverbs 8:13 God says; "To the fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse
Proverbs 11:12 says; "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom"
Proverbs 18:13 says "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall"
The pride of Edom
-They thought they lived in an impenetrable fortress (shows pics of Petra) yet note what v.4-6 says (READ)
-They had a lot of money- yet all their treasures were going to be stolen
-They thought they had rock solid allies yet note what v.7 says (READ)
-They thought they were really smart and could plan their way through anything (READ v.8)
-They had a big army and yet read v.9
POINT: We need to be on guard against pride in our lives!
Good looks, a big brain, money in the bank, athletic ability, social skills, lots of friends, whatever: these are all potential
sources for pride.
For every ability and blessing that we have- in whatever measure- we should thank the Lord and seek to employ it for His
glory and not ours.
We need to watch our attitudes and always remember that God's favour is upon those who are humble
4. The message of Obadiah reminds us that God takes of the cause of His oppressed children
When injustice is done, God takes note and sets a day for that injustice to be dealt with
As Obadiah tells us, at the moment of the greatest amount of pain (for He was disciplining them) for the children of Israel,
the Edomites added to it-- making it all the more worse, was that they were brothers.
For their sins: betrayal, murder, mocking, and gloating, God set a time and day for the destruction of Edom and it's downfall
Application: Vengeance is the Lords. We are not take revenge when wronged. We are not to make plans to get back at the
other party. Rather, we are to leave our cause in the hands of God-- for He will make sure to do what is right and to punish
those who should be punished.
So: We wait upon the Lord for the day that he has set to right the wrongs committed.
We wait seeking to be obedient to Romans 12:17-21 "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the
eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my
dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the
contrary. "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap
burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
5. Prepare for the Day of the LORD by getting right with God v.15
In Obadiah 15 it says; "The Day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds
will return upon your head"
A few things in this verse
1. We reminded that judgment day is coming and that God holds everyone and every nation accountable (not to their
standards but HIS). His is a perfect justice
2. We reminded that vengeance is the Lords.
3. We are reminded of the principles "You will reap what you sow" or "What comes around, goes around" "If you live by the
sword, you will die by the sword"
4. Since God hold all accountable and judgment day is coming, "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he
is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have
mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7
God's promise in Christ is this: For all who turn to Him- by the way He has prescribed- by looking to Jesus as Savior and
Lord, confessing ones sins and asking Christ for forgiveness based on his sacrifice on the cross, there is peace and no need
to fear the coming day.
As Romans 8:1 says 'There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
6. The glorious vision of a Israel occupying her land under the Kingship of the Lord remains to be fulfilled
There is yet a future aspect to the Book of Obadiah. Before the return of Christ, all aspects of the vision of Obadiah and all
the other prophets will be fulfilled - and fulfilled in Christ.
1. The very name of today's book "Obadiah"- which means "a servant of the Lord" is a reminder of who we are and what our
mindset is to be--- servants of the Lord
2. The disaster that was the relationship between Jacob and Esau is a reminder to us of the importance of being the best
family members that we can be
3. The talk of family also reminds us of this truth. Because of Christ, we have 2 families-- our flesh and blood one, and our
spiritual family. In case you are wondering, from an eternal perspective our eternal family is the most important one. We
need to live out being family here (mothers, brothers, fathers, sisters, grandparents-- we to be this to each other)
4. Pride is a deadly sin that we need to be on guard against. Pride/Hubris comes before a fall. Humility and a right view of
ourselves is required.
5. The comfort of the book of Obadiah-- that God takes up the cause of His oppressed children for the sake of justice- is a
good reminder to us to wait upon the Lord when we are wronged and not to take revenge.
6. In light of the coming Day of the Lord, if you are not right with God on his terms, hear the call: Repent of your sins and
turn to Christ.
7. God's not done with Israel-- the vision of Obadiah 19-21 remains to be fulfilled and will be so before Christ returns