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      Obadiah - Chapter 01 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. The LORD God gave Obadiah a message about Edom, and this is what we heard: "I, the LORD, have sent a messenger with orders for the nations to attack Edom."
    2. The LORD said to Edom: I will make you the weakest and most despised nation.
    3. You live in a mountain fortress, because your pride makes you feel safe from attack, but you are mistaken.
    4. I will still bring you down, even if you fly higher than an eagle or nest among the stars. I, the LORD, have spoken!
    5. If thieves break in at night, they steal only what they want. And people who harvest grapes always leave some unpicked. But, Edom, you are doomed!
    6. Everything you treasure most will be taken from you.
    7. Your allies can't be trusted. They will force you out of your own country. Your best friends will trick and trap you, even before you know it.
    8. Edom, when this happens, I, the LORD, will destroy all your marvelous wisdom.
    9. Warriors from the city of Teman will be terrified, and you descendants of Esau will be wiped out.
    10. You were cruel to your relatives, the descendants of Jacob. Now you will be destroyed, disgraced forever.
    11. You stood there and watched as foreigners entered Jerusalem and took what they wanted. In fact, you were no better than those foreigners.
    12. Why did you celebrate when such a dreadful disaster struck your relatives? Why were you so pleased when everyone in Judah was suffering?
    13. They are my people, and you were cruel to them. You went through their towns, sneering and stealing whatever was left.
    14. In their time of torment, you ambushed refugees and handed them over to their attackers.
    15. The day is coming when I, the LORD, will judge the nations. And, Edom, you will pay in full for what you have done.
    16. I forced the people of Judah to drink the wine of my anger on my sacred mountain. Soon the neighboring nations must drink their fill-- then vanish without a trace.
    17. The LORD's people who escape will go to Mount Zion, and it will be holy. Then Jacob's descendants will capture the land of those who took their land.
    18. Israel will be a fire, and Edom will be straw going up in flames. The LORD has spoken!
    19. The people of Israel who live in the Southern Desert will take the land of Edom. Those who live in the hills will capture Philistia, Ephraim, and Samaria. And the tribe of Benjamin will conquer Gilead.
    20. Those who return from captivity will control Phoenicia as far as Zarephath. Captives from Jerusalem who were taken to Sepharad will capture the towns of the Southern Desert.
    21. Those the LORD has saved will live on Mount Zion and rule over Edom. Then the kingdom will belong to the LORD.
Reflections

Obadiah - Chapter 01

Entered: September 16, 2009
Obadiah contains just this one chapter with its 21 verses. Though Israel is included in its message, the primary subject is Edom, the people descended from Esau. Through Obadiah God is pronouncing judgment on Edom because of her pride and arrogance and also because of her treatment of Judah. Pride is a sin that is frequently highlighted in scripture. What is so bad about pride that brings such judgment and condemnation from God? As with so many sins, in its beginning stages it seems innocent enough. A person thinks more highly of himself than he should. So what? Don't we all do this to some extent? As it is allowed to grow, however, pride leads one increasingly to go against the two primary teachings of scripture, love for God and love for man. It leads one to believe himself to be self-sufficient and have no need for God, and to be better than his neighbor and thus entitled to take advantage of him.

That is what had become of Edom. She had obtained great wealth, not all of it honestly, she had an almost impregnable position geographically, and she was known for her wise men. She thought she had no need for God and that she was untouchable by her enemies. As verse 3 says, "Your presumptuous heart has deceived you, you who live in clefts of the rock in your home on the heights, who say to yourself: Who can bring me down to the ground?" But in verse 4 God tells them there is one who can bring them down, and it is He.  

Verses 5-9 give some detail to the judgment God planned for Edom. As is often the case, the judgment reflects the sin. Edom had looted others, now she would be looted and pillaged. She relied on treaties with others instead of on God. Now those allies would betray her and turn against her. She prided herself on her wise men, but not even they would detect the deception of the allies and in the end these wise men would be eliminated. Edom's impenetrable position in the mountains was no protection against the deception of her supposed allies. Pride gives false hope to unbelievers who rely on themselves rather than God. It blinds them to their weaknesses, allowing them to see only their strengths, building them up out of proportion to what they truly are. In other words, pride causes us to lose touch with reality. When this happens we become vulnerable but don't know it.

As stated above, pride leads us to go against both God and our neighbor. The judgment noted in verses 5-9 relate primarily to Edom's dependence on themselves rather than on God. In verses 10-14 it is related primarily to her treatment of her neighbor, Jacob, or Israel/Judah. But Israel was not just a neighbor. She was also Edom's distant relative. Edom had stood aloof while other nations brought destruction on Judah. Then she mocked Judah in her distress, and took advantage of her distress by looting her. Now, as Edom has done, so it will be done to her. (verse 15)

Edom's judgment will also be the occasion of Israel's deliverance. With Edom's destruction, Israel will take possession of her land, "The house of Jacob will dispossess those who dispossessed them." (verse 17) Israel's borders will be expanded to include Edom and the land of the Philistines. Though those Israelites who inhabit the land of Edom will be given 'saviors' or leaders to rule them, "the kingdom will be the Lord's." Our ideas of justice may return to haunt us, but God's justice is sure and is truly just. Justice has not been exercised if only the wrongdoers are punished or if only the innocent are restored. It must include both punishment and restoration.

Entered: July 23, 2015

The book of Obadiah is a short prophesy against the nation of Edom. Edom, made up of the descendants of Esau, brother of Jacob from whom came the Israelites, had been a continual archenemy of Israel. Edom, no doubt, would have claimed innocense against the charges made in this prophesy, for the nation had for the most part been a bystander while other nations had wrecked havoc on Israel. But Edom had cheered on Israel's attackers and assisted them with such things as capturing and handing over any Israelites who tried to escape. One can get an idea of Edom's efforts against Israel by looking at the judgment God planned against her. For God said of it, "As you have done, so it will be done to you; what you deserve will return on your own head." Edom's blood relationship to Israel made this judgment of heightened concern to God, saying to Edom in verse 12: "Do not gloat over your brother in the day of his calamity."

Edom's pride, however, was another factor in God's judgment on her. The nation had become secure against invasion, was noted for having wise leaders, had established profitable alliances with other nations, and had become prosperous. In all this, Edom had become prideful and conceited. It was at the point of this pride that God aimed His judgment. Priding herself on her wise leaders and her wise alliances with other nations, it was these allies who betrayed the nation, doing so without a clue among Edom's wise leaders that it was coming. This is referred to in verse 7: "Everyone who has a treaty with you will drive you to the border; everyone at peace with you will deceive and conquer you."

Edom's judgment from God signaled a deliverance for Israel. Her archenemy was destroyed without a survivor. Israel would be restored and take possession of land held by the Edomites. Referring to a time yet future, this kingdom will "be the Lord's," and He will rule over it. (1:21)