God Will Fight for You!
Then the Lord will reign as King! (Obadiah 21)
The seventeen Books of Prophecy record the messages of the writing prophets (those whose messages are preserved in writing) God raised up to speak for him following the ministries of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. The failings of the Divided Kingdom Era prompted God to speak to Israel in the north and Judah in the south. They continued to speak to God’s people for over 400 years, including the exile to Babylonia and the return to the Promise Land. (1 Kings 12-Esther)
The prophets spoke for God to His people concerning the enforcement of terms of their covenant relationship with God. Each spoke to a specific generation of Israel or Judah to enforce the conditional covenant (Mosaic) in the context of the unconditional covenants flowing from the Abrahamic Covenant. Their message can be summed up in these sentences: You are mine! (Unconditional covenants, Romans 11:29). Walk with me and I will bless you. Walk away from me and I will call you back to myself through loving discipline (Conditional covenant, Romans 9-11).
Fighting and feuding between twin brothers (Esau and Jacob, Genesis 27) leads to national enmity between their respective people (Edomites and Israelites).When Israel’s enemies were knocking at the gates of Jerusalem, the Edomites came to the aid of the enemy. For their unwillingness to serve as their brothers’ keeper, the Edomites would one day become extinct. Obadiah, an obscure prophet of unknown background, describes how Edom would be “cut off forever” (v. 10). God’s people would be vindicated and God would be recognized as Judge over all the earth.
If ever a group of believing people needed encouragement, it was the righteous remnant who suffered during the reign of Jehoram from 848 to 841 B.C. Jehoram’s father, King Jehosaphat, had ruled Judah righteously. Revival had turned the nation back to the God of AbrahJuam, Isaac, and Jacob. But Jehoram was an evil king who turned the nation away from their God. The prophet Elijah warned Jehoram that God’s judgment was coming (2 Chronicles 21:8-20). There would be a devastating attack on Judah by the Philistines and the Arabians. But this wasn’t the worst of it. Not only did the invasion come, but the Edomites, their cousins from the hill country, joined in the devastation and gloated over their pain. These Edomites, the descendants of Esau, had a long history of bitterness toward the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob. And now, rather than coming to their assistance, they had allied themselves with Judah’s enemies.
Enter Obadiah, the prophet against Edom. To encourage the righteous remnant during this time of suffering, Obadiah predicts the coming destruction of Edom and the deliverance of Israel. This prophecy would encourage generations of Israelites as the Edomites continued to prosper while they suffered. Those who knew the Scriptures could be sure that the Day of the Lord was coming—a Day when God would have things His way! Edom would be destroyed; Israel would be delivered. The theme of Obadiah is the inevitable destruction of entrenched evil. Injustice against God’s chosen will be met with certain disaster.
Obadiah: God does not forget those who persecute His people!
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament (twenty-one verses), but it carries one of the strongest messages of judgment in the Bible. For Edom there are no pleas to return, no words of consolation or hope. God will bring total judgment upon Edom and there will be no judgment. The lesson for God’s people is clear: Those who oppose God will be humbled and destroyed.
I. THE DESTRUCTION OF EDOM The coming overthrow of Edom is a certainty, not a condition. The reasons are evident (1-14).
A. DESTRUCTION INEVITABLE Summoning the nations against Edom, God will completely destroy prideful Edom. He will thoroughly destroy her by using her allies who will despise her wise men and warriors (1-9).
B. CAUSE OF DESTRUCTION Edom’s indifference toward Israel led to mocking, looting, and attacking God’s people during their time of need (10-14).
II. THE DAY OF THE LORD This is the first reference to the Day of the Lord in Scripture. Edom is not isolated, but caught up in a general reckoning which will reverse evil and establish good (15-21).
A. GOD’S JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS Judgment is near for all nations using the standard of lex taliones which will result in severe and extended punishment (15-16).
B. GOD’S DELIVERANCE OF ISRAEL The closing verses give hope to God’s people that they will possess not only their land, but also that of their enemies—especially Edom (17-21).
Messiah: Christ is seen in Obadiah as the Judge of the nations (15-16), the Savior of Israel (17-20), and the Possessor of the kingdom (21).
OBADIAH AND YOU: Obadiah reminds us that God is always faithful to His covenant promises…even when His enemies seem to prosper!
ü PRINCIPLE: God’s justice will ultimately prevail!
Will you be comforted or confused by world events?
Though it took almost 1,000 years, this prophecy was literally fulfilled:
1. Date of Obadiah: 848-841 BC
2. 586 BC, 255 years later: The Edomites encourage the Babylonians in sacking Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7).
3. 312 BC, 533 years later: Verse 7 was fulfilled…literally. The Nabateans, and Arab people, swept through Edom forcing the Edomites into southern Judah.
4. 126 BC, 719 years later: Verse 9a was fulfilled…literally. John Hycernas, the Macabbean leader, conquered the Edomites (Idumaeans) and forced them to follow Jewish law, even circumcision!
5. 47 BC, 798 years later: Julius Caesar appointed Antipater, an Idumaean, procurator of Judea.
6. 37 BC, 808 years later: Herod, Antipater’s son, became king of Judea.
7. 70 AD, 915 years later: The Idumaeans joined the rebellion against Rome. Titus, incensed by their treachery, kills every Idumaean—man, woman, and child. Read verse 10 again!!
“From this time the Edomites disappear from history, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the ancient prophet Obadiah: ‘For the violence done to thy brother Jacob, shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever’.”