Notes From Obadiah
Yesterday we studied the book of Obadiah and had an enjoyable time as always. Thank you to those that came to church at the park! There is such a huge treasure of information and instruction found in the Minor Prophets, and it is unfortunate that our churches have largely neglected these important books.
It takes a whole Bible to make a whole Christian.
Last week we talked some about wealth and poverty, and how sinful and destructive greed can be, this week we’re looking at Obadiah and the pride of Edom. God is not a fan of pride, and we’ll see that as we go through this book today.
So I want to do something a little different today, because this is such a short book I want to just read it through quickly and then come back to look at specific verses. By the way Jeremiah chapter 49 is very similar to Obadiah.
A preacher named G. Morgan Campbell who lived around the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, was asked, “How do you study the Bible?” Morgan replied, “I’d tell you but you wouldn’t do it.” He was asked again and finally said, “I read a book through 40 to 50 times before I even start to study it.”
So we’re just going to read this once I promise! So please read with me and there are obvious differences here between what the King James says and other versions, but the meaning is the same.
1 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.
Like a lot of the prophets, like a lot of the writers in the Bible, we don’t know anything about Obadiah. His name means Servant/Worshipper of God. We don’t really know when this was written either. But the book has one main point and that is the judgment and destruction of Edom. This is the case with many books in the Bible and it’s because the focus shouldn’t be on the human author, the focus is on the message. Just like today, a lot of Christians can kind of idolize the pastor, but he’s really irrelevant in my mind, he’s just the messenger. Does he deliver the truth of God’s Word accurately or not?
Edom of course is the nation that descended from Esau, as in Jacob and Esau sons of Isaac. Jacob became Israel and Esau became the Edomites. These nations butted heads for many hundreds of years.
Let’s look at Genesis 25 real quick, Genesis 25:21-26. So, two nations struggling inside her and they would always struggle. The name Esau means “harry” and the name Jacob basically means “heel-grabber.”
2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.
Small nation, not winning any popularity contest. Basically North Korea. Verses 3 and 4 are really interesting so I want to focus on them for a bit.
3 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?
4 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.
Here we see the great sin of pride, and your version probably mentions boasting a few verses down also. Pride means to see yourself above others, but Philippians 2:3 says “let each esteem other better than themselves.” Let’s go to Isaiah 14:12-15. Same sort of arrogance that Obadiah is talking about regarding Edom.
Now let’s go to Genesis 3:1-6. The first thing the devil did was to question what God said, and that’s why—I think I say this every time—we need to stay grounded in God’s Word. That’s why Bible study is so important. We need to know what God said, and not what the culture (influenced by you-know-who) says what God says.
What was the temptation offered by satan? Pride. He said, “in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.” The truth is, they were more godlike to begin with, in the sense that they had no sin!
So he deceived Eve, and verse 6 says that she saw the tree was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise. Pride.
What does God say about wisdom? Job 28:28 says the Fear of the Lord is wisdom. Psalm 111:10 says the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 2:6 says the Lord gives wisdom, out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. And one of my favorite verses about this, Colossians 2:3 says that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ.
What does that tell us about the devil’s temptation to be wise?
So Eve’s pride deceived her into thinking she could get wisdom from a tree, when she walked in the garden with her Creator who is the source of all wisdom. Because the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Psalm 16). Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Corinth. 10). This is something we obviously have to watch for in ourselves, but also as we see here in Obadiah and in other parts of the Bible, God does not like pride and He will judge righteously.
Let’s look at 2 Timothy 3. The last letter Paul wrote that we have. Let’s read verses 1-5. Proud. Boastful. These are symptoms of a lack of faith and trust in God, and a focus on ourselves.
And 1 Corinthians 1:31 says, “That, according as it is written, He that boasts, let him boast in the Lord.” Anytime you see “as it is written”, that’s a clue to say, “Hey! I’m going to see where this was written!” So let’s turn to Jeremiah 9:23-24.
How do we glory or boast in the Lord? How do we glory in understanding and knowing the Lord?
Ok, let’s go back to Obadiah. Verse 5.
5 If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes?
Different takes on this verse but I think it’s talking about the future destruction of Edom as if, even thieves would leave when they had their fill but you, Edom, will be totally destroyed.
6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
They will be totally plundered.
7 All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him.
8 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?
They had pride in their wisdom. Romans 1:21-22 says, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
Paul isn’t talking about Edom of course but the same thing persists then as it does today, people think they are wise and smart and they reject God. The most foolish thing anyone can do. Stephen Hawking was supposedly smart, and he said, “I think science has a more compelling explanation than a divine creator.” That’s not wisdom, and that’s not knowledge as God defines it because those thing are found in Him.
9 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.
Teman was an area/location of the Edomite region.
10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
Edom’s violence against Israel is what this is talking about, and the utter destruction of Edom.
11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.
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.
So God judges Judah and Israel at various times, right? Edom should not have rejoiced over that. God’s justice is perfect, it’s not emotional. We hear about the “wrath” of God, and we think that God has bursts of rage or something like people do, but His wrath is different.
I heard it described like, if you walk off a cliff, you’ll suffer destruction but we don’t think gravity got mad, right? God’s wrath is a result of His Holy and Just nature. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. That’s what it says in Ezekiel 18. God wants people to turn to Him, not perish in rejection of Him, but rejecting God has a clear result just like walking off a cliff.
Don’t worry, God will take care of Newsom and every other wicked politician that we’re currently up against.
13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;
14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
15 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.
This Day of the Lord again, never talked about as a pleasant time but always a period of judgment. So Edom serves as a type of the judgment to come on all the unbelieving nations that oppose the people of God. “Thy reward shall return upon thine own head.” The wages of sin is…? Whatever a man sows that shall he also…?
16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.
This is cool check this out. So when nations would conquer Jerusalem they would sometimes desecrate the temple and drink and rejoice in their victory. So this is like God saying, “oh, you rejoice in your pagan victory and drank to celebrate, I’ll give you something to drink: you’ll drink from the cup of my wrath and be utterly eradicated.”
There’s a whole study right here in this verse, but in Matthew 26, after the last supper, when Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, He said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And He prayed this 3 times. So there’s some questions here:
What cup? And why would Jesus not want to have this cup?
The cup is God’s wrath, just as we see in Obadiah. In Revelation 14:10 talking about those who receive the mark of the beast it says, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”
Why does it say “without mixture”?
So why would Jesus say, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”?
He was setting an example for us. He knew what His mission was, and to drink the cup of the Father’s wrath on behalf of us was no small thing. Yet He still said, not what I want but what you want. And we should say the same thing today.
A. W. Tozer, one of my favorite Christian authors said, “Outside the will of God, there's nothing I want. Inside the will of God there's nothing I fear.”
Ok, let’s wrap up Obadiah, verse 17.
17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it.
19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.
21 And saviours [judges] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.
I believe these last verses are talking about the millennium and the Christian church will return to reign with Christ. Psalm 149:5-9.
1 Corinth. 6:2 “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”