JUNE 12 - Nº 163 The Book of Obadiah
Although God 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. His message was directed at the people of Edom who were a constant source of aggravation for God’s people. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the older twin brother of Jacob (see #19 - January 19). Esau’s nickname while he was growing up had been “Edom,” which meant 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 was renamed 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 - January 19, #20 - January 20, #21 - January 21). It was during that time God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (see #25 - January 25). Esau (Edom) and Jacob (Israel) eventually resolved most of their personal differences (see #26 - January 26). However, the discord they experienced as young men was only intensified as their descendants formed two separate nations. Instead of allying themselves with their relatives, the Edomites chose to antagonize the Israelites every chance they got. 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 - February 26). Later, they opposed King Saul and threatened to destroy the nation of Israel. They were finally subdued by David and Solomon and forced to pay taxes as Israel’s subjects. The Edomites hated paying these taxes to Israel so much that they held huge celebrations 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. During the reign of King Jehoram of Judah, Edom finally revolted (see #154 - June 3). They crowned their own king and refused to pay taxes any longer. Then they began raiding and harassing the people of Judah. Instead of being their “brother’s keepers,” the Edomites committed horrible crimes against them. In their new freedom, the Edomites became very arrogant. They thought they could never be defeated again 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 prophesied. 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. Ten thousand Edomite men were thrown off the cliffs that they had boasted would always protect them (see #161 - June 10)! The Edomites were eventually annihilated by the Romans in 70 A.D. Their nation no longer exists. (Have you ever met an Edomite?) Obadiah’s prophecies came true. God also 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?