Obadiah means "servant of the Lord." Obadiah was probably a contemporary of Ezekiel (Eze 35) and Jeremiah (Jer 49:7-22). His vision is about the doom of Edom. Edom was a name given to the descendants of Esau.
Jacob and Esau were brothers. The Edomites drove the Horites out of Mount Seir (Ge 14:5-6 Dt 2:12), and their descendants occupied the whole mountain. Edom was a mountainous, but well-watered country, located south of the Dead Sea. Its capital was Petra or Sela, a city carved out of the side of a high cliff overlooking a beautiful valley. It was known as an impregnable mountain fortress.
The Edomites were enemies of God's people from the time of Jacob and Esau. After the Israelites came out of Egypt, traveled through the desert for 40 years, and were ready to enter the promised land, the Edom- ites refused to let them pass through their land. When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem (586 BC), they acted like a cheering squad. Psalm 137:7 says, "Re member, O Lord what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. 'Tear it down,' they cried..." In New Testament times, the Herods were descendants of the Edomites.
The two main themes of this book are the doom of the proud and the deliverance of the humble.
Key Verse: 3
1. Edom's pride (1-9)
The Edomites were confident that their capital city was safe from any invasion. It was a well-protected city, built in the cleft of a rock (3)--like an eagle's nest perched on a high pinnacle (4). Their army could go out on raiding parties, strike, plunder, and escape to the secure refuge of their impregnable fortress. The prophet spoke for God and told them that their pride had deceived them; they would be brought low and destroyed.
2. They rejoiced at Judah's misfortune (10-16)
When the Babylonians despoiled and sacked Jerusalem in 586-87 BC, the Edomites gloated over Jerusalem's suffering and even helped themselves to some of the spoils. They caught fugitives fleeing the city and handed them over to the enemy. One should not despise his brother in the day of his misfortune. "As you have done, it will be done to you." Everyone must give an account of his deeds before the Lord someday.
Prayer: Lord, give me a humble heart that I may weep with those who weep.
One Word: Pride goes before destruction
DELIVERANCE ON MOUNT ZION
Key Verse: 21
1. The house of Jacob will be a fire (17-18)
On Mount Zion there would be deliverance. Mount Zion is another name for Jerusalem; it is the mountain on which the temple of the Lord rests. God would deliver and restore his people, and make them holy. When God dwells in the midst of his people, they are like a burning fire. The Edomites who gloated over their distress would be like stubble which the fire would burn.
2. The kingdom will be the Lord's (19-21)
God will establish his own kingdom in the earth, and his people, now scattered, helpless exiles, will possess all the lands of their enemies. Deliverers will go up to Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau--and all nations. The kingdom will be the Lord's. God's rule means deliverance for all people. In his kingdom alone there is true freedom, peace and justice for all.
Prayer: Lord, raise up your people to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests to declare your wonderful works to the world.