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Obadiah

June 3, 2009

Background

I. Obadiah’s Vision Verses 1-21

  1. The Destruction of Edom                          Vs. 1-9
  2. The Reason for Edom’s Destruction     Vs. 10-14
  3. Edom and Israel Compared                       Vs. 15-21

Background

Our historical information regarding Obadiah is very limited. The date of
his prophecy is unknown. Most scholars place it in the time of 605-586 BC near
the fall of Jerusalem. They pick this time because this was a time of great
mocking and ridicule of Judah by Edom. If true, Obadiah would be a contemporary
of Jeremiah and possible Daniel, Ezekiel, and Habakkuk. His prophecy concerning
Edom is similar to that of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Amos as one would expect since
God is the author of all. Its’ fulfillment probably did not fully happen until
they were overrun by the Nabataeans in the 3rd century BC.

Obadiah’s Vision                                        Verses 1-21

The Destruction of Edom Vs. 1-9

Obadiah has a vision from God concerning Edom, the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s
brother, who live in the mountain region SE of Judah and south of the Dead Sea.
Verse 1 states, “We have heard from the Lord”, which leads one to
speculate that Obadiah’s message was not singular. If Obadiah was a contemporary
of Jeremiah, it might mean they conferred with one another over what each had
heard from the Lord. Regardless, the Lord has commissioned nations [singular
or plural] to fight Edom and make her small and insignificant [vs.2].

Edom is a proud nation that believes they are more important than they really
are. In some ways they are a nation in hiding because they live in a very rugged
mountain area with many places to hide and avoid conflicts. They were a people
who robbed others and returned to their mountains to hide where no one could
find them. No one could effectively attack them within their borders either.

God promises to bring Edom down. What wealth they have will be stolen from
them, even the treasure they have hidden. All their land will be ransacked and
not even a small amount of wealth will be left behind [vs. 5-6]. Their allies
will arrive at Edom’s borders to deceive and overpower them. Their wise men
and leaders will be destroyed, terror will grip them, and everyone will be slaughtered.
Edom, as a nation, will no longer exist.

The Reason for Edom’s Destruction                                           Vs. 10-14

God will punish Edom because of her attitude toward Israel/Judah. They practiced
violence against Israel [Jacob] instead of brotherly love. They did not ally
themselves with Israel but acted in support of Israel’s enemies. Even if they
did not fight Israel, their lack of support for Israel is taken as support for
Israel’s enemies. Edom even rejoiced over Judah’s destruction at the hand of
Babylon. It’s implied that they came and entered Jerusalem’s gates after it
fell and plundered what they could [vs. 13] and even killed those who survived
and were trying to escape.

Edom and Israel Compared                                                             Vs. 15-19

When the Day of the Lord comes [at the end of time during the Day of the Lord’s
wrath] they will receive the same punishment they gave to others. Whatever evil
and injustice they practiced against Israel will be practiced against them.
Israel [Jacob] will possess Jerusalem. Christ, who has come to save Israel,
will rule from Jerusalem. Israel will be a light to the world whereas the world
will have consumed Edom [Esau]. Edom will be occupied by those living to their
west [Negev] or Israel. Israel will also possess the land formerly occupied
by the Philistines. Israel will also stretch its’ boundaries to the north and
south, possessing all the land originally promised Israel by God [vs. 19-20].
Edom will be no more and Israel will be the Kingdom of the Lord.

Israel will finally fulfill her purpose as the people of God; ruled by God
and telling of His love, goodness, and mercy in obedience to Him. That is the
purpose of His people, the Church, today too. We who place our trust in God,
submit to God and obey Him. We are His “fire and flame” proclaiming
His plan of salvation to all men. Our time is now. Israel’s time will return.
In the meantime we are to stoke our fire with the oil of His Holy Spirit so
God is glorified.

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