Obadiah’s Message to Edom
JUNE 12 - Nº 163 [The Book of Obadiah]
Although God had sent many prophets to speak to His people, Obadiah was the first one to record the message he was given. He wrote while Elisha was still alive and when Joash was king of Judah. At that time Joash was struggling to subdue the king of Edom (see #161). The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the older twin brother of Jacob (see #19). Esau’s nickname was “Edom,” which means red because of the red stew he loved to eat (see Genesis 25:30). When Esau left home, he moved to the mountainous area of Seir, which later was named Edom after him. Because Jacob had tricked Esau out of his birthright and stolen his blessing, the two brothers were estranged for many years (see #19. #20, #21). During that time God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (see #25). The struggle that had existed between Esau and Jacob for most of their lives continued to escalate long after their deaths. Instead of allying themselves with their own relatives, the Edomites chose to antagonize the Israelites. They showed up with a large army to prevent Moses from passing through their land when he was leading God’s people out of Egypt (see #57). Later, they opposed King Saul and constantly threatened the nation of Israel. They were finally subdued by David and Solomon. But they hated paying taxes to Israel so much that they celebrated when the Philistines and Arabians plundered the Temple in Jerusalem. Then when Judah and Israel became two separate nations, the Edomites prevented Judah’s fugitives from escaping through their territory. Instead of being their “brother’s keeper,” they enjoyed participating in crimes against them. During the reign of King Jehoram of Judah, Edom finally revolted (see #154). They crowned their own king and refused to pay their taxes. Then they began raiding and harassing the people of Judah. The Edomites were very arrogant. They thought they could never be defeated because of their location on Mount Seir. Their capital was protected by high mountain cliffs and a narrow canyon that prevented sneak attacks. They bragged about their control of a vital trade route. They also boasted about the wealth hidden in their mines, the strength of their allies, and the wisdom of their leaders.
Because of this arrogance and their cruelty to His people, God sent Obadiah to pronounce judgment on Edom. “The same things that they have done to Judah will be done to them,” He predicted. Sure enough, not long after Obadiah’s prophecy was delivered, King Amaziah of Judah was able to invade Edom and kill 20,000 of their leaders. They threw 10,000 Edomite wise men off the same cliffs that they trusted to keep them secure (see #161)! The Edomites were eventually annihilated by the Romans in 70 A.D. Their nation no longer exists. (Have you ever met an Edomite?) God promised that one day the boundaries of Israel will include the land once known as Edom (Obadiah 19-21).
How we treat others determines how God treats us. Based on the interactions you had with others this past week, how do you think God feels about you? Would He be happy to shower you with blessings? Or is He more likely to send something to humble and correct an attitude of arrogance?