The Kingdom Will Be the Lord's

by LA UBF   02/22/2009     0 reads


The Kingdom Will Be the Lord's�

The Kingdom Will Be the Lord's

Obadiah 1:1-21

Key Verse 1:21

“Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the LORD's.”

Obadiah is the shortest prophetic book, consisting of just one chapter. Yet it occupies a special position in that it reveals the destiny of all who adopt Edom's way of life.

In Hebrew Edom means "red" (Genesis 25:30). Its variant is “Adam” which is comprised of the same consonants (that is, aleph, daleth, and mem). In the book of Obadiah, Edom is an alternate name for Esau. The meaning of the name Edom suggests that Edom refers to a man who adopts an earthly nature. (Read Colossians 3:5 for a few examples of the earthly nature.)  

Hebrews 4:12 reads, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow." The word "diving" indicates that man's existence is divisible into different components. It has been said, "Hellenism divides, and Hebraism combines." This statement also indicates that whatever is put together can also be disassembled. The point here is that human beings are a combination of different components so that man as a living entity is divisible. 

Similarly, Genesis 2:7 reveals to us how the Lord God put different components together. "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Emerging out of this discussion is the identity of Edom, that is, a man whose predominant nature is earthly. 

Again, Obadiah describes the destiny of Edom. According to one Jewish resource, the author of the book of Obadiah was a proselyte who used to be an Edomite but turned to worshiping the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. The same resource identifies Obadiah with the one mentioned in 1 King 18, where the man named Obadiah, while serving King Ahab as a royal administrator, secretly protected one hundred prophets from the killing hands of Queen Jezebel. If indeed this assertion is true, the message the prophet Obadiah conveys to us becomes clear, for he proclaimed God’s judgment on people like Queen Jezebel who adopted Esau’s lifestyle, living purely on a carnal level.

Many Bible verses talk about the destiny of those who adopt Edom's way of life. In Genesis 3:19 we are told that upon succumbing to a carnal desire Adam was decreed to return to dust. Genesis 25:23 says that Edom is destined to serve Jacob for flesh cannot and should not be allowed to take leadership over what is spiritual. Hebrews 12:16 says, "See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son." Malachi 1:2-3 say, "I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated." The book of Obadiah however goes into further details about the destiny of Edom. What then is going to happen to Edom (and to all who adopt Edom's way of life)?  

First, let us go against her for battle (1)

According to verse 1 it is the Sovereign Lord who builds a rally among all nations for a battle against Esau. This immediately raises questions: If Edom came from the Lord, why does he go against Edom? If indeed man is divisible into different components, such as dust and the breath of life, why does the Lord promote a battle against what is earthly? If he is going to fight against what is earthly why did he allow the earthly component to be incorporated into the constitution of a human being?

When we consider these questions with what the Bible says about who God is, that is, the Lord God who is good, and good all the time (Psalm 100:5), we can come up with a correct answer to these questions. That is, God has a good reason and purpose in forming man out of dust and then calling a battle against the earthly nature. God does not want man to be dominated by what is earthly. Rather he desires man to overcome and remain dominant over what is earthly. For this reason we can even go to the point of saying that by declaring war against Edom, the Lord God decreed from the beginning that only those who fight against one’s earthbound nature and become dominant over that earthbound nature should inherit his kingdom! 

Thus those who adopt an Edomite lifestyle are bound to run afoul with the Lord who is sovereign. Who can possibly fight against the Sovereign Lord and win? No one. 

"Rise, and let us go against her for battle." This passage reminds us of the battles King David went through, for in Psalms 35:1-3 he says: "Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’” It also reminds us of what the Apostle Peter urged the early Christians to do in 1 Peter 2:11, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." 

Second, you will be utterly despised (2)

Look at verse 2: "See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised." In the day of King Ahab the royal couple Ahab and Jezebel adopted the Edomite lifestyle. Queen Jezebel kept 450 Baal prophets on a government payroll who operated as male prostitutes (1 Kings 18:19). In those days, while the Baal prophets lived in mansions, the Lord’s servants, like the Prophet Elijah, were driven to mountains and deserts. Due to persecutions Elijah had to run away to a deep mountain cave where he lived like a caveman. 

What happened in the end to Jezebel? The Lord commanded Elijah to anoint Jehu who in turn caused Jezebel to be thrown down from her window to the ground. Dogs came and devoured her flesh. But the Lord God exalted Elijah by allowing him to go up to heaven, riding a chariot of fire in a whirlwind. The ways in which Jezebel and Elijah finished their life’s journeys here on earth shows us that those who adopt the Edomite lifestyle are destined to become utterly despised, whereas those who live a life that is filled with God's Spirit will be highly exalted.

Third, the pride of your heart has deceived you (3-7)

All love to be great; no one wants to be small. All desire to be exalted; no one wants to be despised. Why is it then that so many adopt the Edomite’s way of life? Let us read responsively verses 3-7. Verse 3 begins, "The pride of your heart has deceived you..." It has been said that war is a deception. The point of the deception is to cause the opponent to make a wrong assessment as to the possibility of winning or losing. Once one is bound to lose and yet thinks that he is going to win, we can say he has been deceived. 

Those who adopt the Edomite lifestyle are deceived by the pride of their hearts. In their pride they make a wrong assessment as to whether or not the lifestyle they promote would serve them for good. Obadiah saw the Edomites in his day buy bigger houses in better neighborhoods while thinking that no one could bring them down. But Obadiah saw that that was not going to be the case. Although they could do so well with their hands and achieve such visible results as a better mansion in a nicer neighborhood, eventually what they built with their own efforts would come to nothing. This is a great tragedy. Why do you work so hard only to see that what you achieved comes to nothing? What a waste of resources!!

So the lesson is that we are not to build our life-security here on earth. Life here on earth is a period of preparation for eternity. All the resources in life, such as talents or youth, must be directed to serving God's purpose, that is, building the Lord's kingdom in the hearts of fallen men. 

Fourth, will I not destroy the wise men of Edom? (8-9)

Categorically, the Edomites include all who are of earthbound nature as well as those who pursue their earthly desires with aggression. They can be sub-categorized into two classes: the wise (8) and the warriors (9). The wise include lawyers, doctors, philosophers, theorists, strategists, researchers, consultants, investors, artists, scientists, inventors, politicians, and all sorts of gurus like religious gurus and financial gurus. They have brains, so that in their shrewdness and smartness they know how to go and get what they want ever so quickly. Their warriors are just go-getters. In so getting, they ignore morals and ethics. What counts to them is the end; they don’t care whether or not the means are just. Simply, with whatever means available, they go get what they want.  

But will they eventually enjoy for good what they get? No. The Lord God who is sovereign makes it sure that their plans would be thwarted, so that in the end the Lord's purpose alone would prevail. This observation indicates that true wisdom comes from reconciling man's purpose with God's. 

Fifth, because of the violence against your brother you will be covered with shame (10-14)

Those who adopt Esau's lifestyle will be hit with tragic consequences for another reason, that is, all the days of their life they project themselves as bad neighbors. In verses 10-14 we find two interesting categorizations: first, the categorization of neighbors, that is, Edom and Jacob; and, second, the categorization of the ways in which an Esau-type person relates himself with his neighbor Jacob. 

We glibly say neighbors are those who live close to you. But characteristically there are only two kinds of neighbors: the Esau-type and Jacob-type, not the poor vs. the rich, nor the educated vs. the uneducated, etc. From God's perspective you are either like Esau or like Jacob. In other words, you as a neighbor are either an earth-bound person or a heaven-bound person. You see these two inclinations within yourself as well. 

Remember that both Esau and Jacob were conceived in the womb of the same mother. They lived under the same roof, under the same parents, until they parted. Since they were twin brothers they were supposed to love one another. But they did not. They sinned against each other. And the way of the unfaithful is “hard” (Pro 13:15).

It is interesting to note that it is Esau whose life alone is described to go “hard”. Why? We know the answer: Jacob is already under God's training. In a way, Jacob is like a man who gets disciplined ahead of the rest of his siblings. The next in line is Esau. Jacob stole Esau of "heaven's dew" (Genesis 27:28,39). “Heaven's dew” stands for the spiritual blessings, such as the Scriptures, like Moses' Ten Commandments. Every privilege comes with responsibility. Since Jacob disobeyed the Lord’s commands, the Lord disciplined him so that Jacob would learn responsibility. On the part of Esau then he should have humbled himself and remained in support of Jacob. For although Jacob stole him of the heavenly dew, Jacob was bearing up the responsibility which Esau himself had given up. 

But what did Esau do? How did he treat Jacob? The passage we just read describes his dealings with Jacob in four ways: violence (10), indifference (or aloofness) (11), looking down on (12), and taking advantage of (13-14). He was violent to Jacob. He stood aloof when his brother Jacob was suffering. And when Jacob’s enemies came and robbed him, Esau joined Jacob’s enemies, and took advantage of Jacob. 

These practices indicate that there is animosity between Esau and Jacob. Esau's ill-treatment of Jacob displeases the Lord, so the Lord says, "You will be covered with the same; you will be destroyed forever" (11).

Sixth, there will be no survivors from the house of Esau (15-18) 

Verses 15-18 describe the Lord's final judgment on those who adopt Edom’s lifestyle. On the day of the Lord the Lord will judge Edom. The day of the Lord will turn out to be the time when the table will turn in favor of God's people (namely, the house of Jacob and the house of Joseph). While the house of Jacob will be a fire, the house of Joseph will be a flame. Both fire and flame will burn the stubble (the Edomites) reducing the estate of the Edomites to ashes. 

Seventh, the kingdom will be the Lord's (19-21) 

Look at Verse 18b again: "There will be no survivors from the house of Esau." When there are no survivors, who can possibly inherit the kingdom? No one!

This outcome is what Esau chose from the beginning, for when he sold his birthright for one bowl of lentil soup, he sold not just the right to inherit some family assets but the eternal kingdom. This conclusion (the loss of the eternal kingdom) sounds dogmatic. But as dogmatic as it sounds, this is what the Bible maintains, for in 1 Corinthians 15:50 the Apostle Paul says, "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." Similarly, Romans 14:17 reads, "[T]he kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit..." But Esau believed in eating and drinking. Edom trusted in what is earthly; Esau despised what gives life to man, that is, the Spirit of God. 

In conclusion, in the book of Obadiah we see the destiny of those who adopt the Edomite lifestyle. Against their will they forfeit the right to inherit the Lord’s kingdom. The Prophet Obadiah foresaw that Edomites have no future in God's kingdom. In Hebrew the name Obadiah means "the servant of the Lord." Let us pray then to warn ourselves against the Edomite lifestyle and offer ourselves as the Lord's servant. 

One word: the Kingdom will be the Lord's

Class Exercise:

In Hebrew, what do the following words (names) mean?

Edom _________

Jacob _________

Obadiah _________

The end

      Trei Asar, the Twelve Prophets Volume 1, published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd. P. 268