Today: [Obadiah] You Will Possess Your Possessions! In Obadiah we see the people of Edom brought to judgment for their warfare against the southern kingdom. The name Edom means “Red man” the same as the name “Adam”, therefore we understand it as a prophetic foretelling of the ultimate end of godless humanity who shake their fist in the face of God, rejecting His rule. Yet, by contrast as Edom is condemned, at the same time the people are God are said to possess their possessions and to come into the rule and reign of the earth as promised apocalyptically throughout the word of God.
Obadiah: 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. 2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. 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. 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? 6 How are [the things] of Esau searched out! [how] are his hidden things sought up! 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? 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. 10 For [thy] violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. 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. 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. 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. 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 shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.
Obadiah is a theomorphical name, which means the name of God is embedded in the name of the prophet. The name Obadiah means “slave of God” or “one who is kept in bondage to God”. There is some conjecture as to whether this Obadiah is the person with the same name that served Ahab or not (in 1 Kings 18). The circumstances addressed in the chapter point to an authorship some 100 years into the Babylonian captivity of the southern kingdom after Jeremiah’s death some time around 586 B.C.. Finally, he is widely believed to be an Edomite convert to Judaism, which gives deeper context to the fact that it was largely against Edom that he prophesied in the book bearing his name.
The purpose of the book of Obadiah was to declare the coming destruction of the tribe of Edom. You will remember that the Edomites descended from Esau, Jacob’s older brother. The message for us is twofold: Edom means basically the same thing as “Adam” therefore the broader application of the judgments of Obadiah apply not just to this ancient tribe but to all mankind who live in rejection of the Messiah. The second insight is that the Edomites are an “elder brother” class, which draws our attention to the parable of the Prodigal son and the resentful elder brother whose rage against the favor of God shown Jacob was murderous. When we feel we have paid our dues in life or resent someone for being promoted above us, we are channeling as it were, our inner Edomite.
In v. 1 the prophet sees in a vision the Lord God calling for an angelic authority, an “ambassador” to raise up the armies of the earth against the nation of Edom in battle, to take her and destroy her utterly. Though they considered themselves a great and powerful nation, the Lord declares that He will make them small and cause them to be deeply despised. In the context of their connection with Esau, we see this as the end, the extinguishing of the line of Esau for the colossal error of despising the birthright so many centuries before the time of this writing. In v. 3 we see that the Edomites thought that they were an impregnable nation, protected by natural barriers and mountainous geography against their enemies. Because of this, their boast was “who shall bring me to the ground?” V. 4 says “though you set your nest among the stars, thence I will bring thee down saith the Lord…” Presumption and pride are a harmful thing. In our own nation, there is a sentiment that this republic will last forever, protected by our form of government, the military that serves us and the natural barriers from invasion of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Yet, if we as a nation despise the birthright of honor to God and service in His kingdom, there is no power in us to resist the consequences of those choices.
Verses 6-7 warn the descendants of Esau that the nations who have established diplomatic ties with her had deceived them with lies while they lay in wait to destroy them totally. Since WWII our country has spent untold billions of dollars on foreign aid to build up diplomatic alliances with the nations of the earth in pursuit of a stable and safe homeland. The poor of our nation languish while corrupt governments on the Arabian Peninsula and the African subcontinent are enriched by the State department of the US all in the name of peace among nations. The recent nuclear deal with Iran was so driven by greed and confidence that money would defend us that a plane literally filled to capacity with bales of cash was sent as blood money to one of the most violent, godless nations in the earth. God’s pronouncement against such policies is that they will not protect us, because they reflect not a confidence in God but a presumptive false confidence in our own alleged power to save us while all the while we exclude God from our society.
In v. 8 we see a day coming referred to as “that day” for all of Edom. It says that God will destroy the wise men of Edom and bring down the understand of the descendants of Esau. This speaks to us of God confounding the wisdom not just of this ancient nation but of all of lost humanity in whose wisdom they have excised God Himself from their national discourse in the name of fairness, freedom and the ethic of individual liberty. How does God bring down the wisdom of the wise of this world? The apostle Paul makes it clear:
[1Co 1:18-19 KJV] 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
The preaching of the cross is absolute foolishness to the secular world view. Preaching the cross is tantamount to suggesting we bow down at a vacant electric chair or hangman’s gallows because we believe one of their victims was resurrected after execution and is in fact God. This is the folly of the cross, the foolishness of the tenants of the Christian faith, yet unless we embrace it there will be dire eternal consequences. God does not negotiate with the logic, or rationale of the natural man. It is amazing today that so many Christian are actually paralyzed with inability to move forward in their lives because they feel they must “understand” what God wants or what God is doing in their lives. They complain “if I just KNEW what God wanted of me…” as if the lack of that information was an excuse for living a life of cyclical failure and self-interest. In Isaiah 55:12 doesn’t say “you will go out with intellect, led forth with understanding and establish with rationale. On the contrary Isaiah declares we will “go out with joy and be led forth with peace…” Col. 3:15 tells us to let the peace of God rule as an umpire in our hearts, settling with all finality EVERY decision before us in life. When your mind screams “why God” that is not a piteous believer supplicating a distant God to explain the unexplainable. Rather it is the tyranny of the carnal mind demanding God to capitulate to the rationale mind as a condition of obedience, to which God remains silent until we relinquish our understanding and simply yield to Him as our Lord and obey and serve Him whether we understand or not.
The entire first portion of this book is a prophecy of the total and complete condemnation of the arrogance and pride of fallen humanity, but v. 17 declares on the contrary that on mount Zion will be deliverance, and holiness and that the house of Jacob will possess their possessions. Again, who does this apply to? Many Christian teachers say this is not for us but rather is a national promise exclusive to the state of Israel. However, Romans 2:28 says plainly that he is not a Jew that is one outwardly but he is a Jew that is one inwardly who has been circumcised in heart, speaking of the community of the redeemed in new birth.
God wants you to possess your possessions. As Daniel declared that the saints would take the kingdom, and Amos declared that we would inherit Edom (or sinful humanity), so Obadiah declares that the saints of the Most High will rule over the vast sea of lost humanity until the whole of sinful humanity, condemned in Adam, manifest in Edom is totally extinguished, either by new birth or by consignment to everlasting consequences because they have rejected the Christ of God. In that day v. 21 tells us that that Lord shall send saviors out of Zion to judge mount Esau. You are I are called as kings and priests. Zion was the where the royal palaces of the line of David were maintained. The saviors (or, delivers) out of Zion are the people of God called not only in the millennium but in the here and now to rule and reign in Christ whereupon the kingdom of fallen men will be the Lord’s.
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