Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obadiah 1:1-4

Edom Will Be Humbled
1The vision of Obadiah.
Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom--

We have heard a report from the LORD,

And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying,

"Arise and let us go against her for battle"--
2"Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You are greatly despised.
3"The arrogance of your heart has deceived you,
You who live in the clefts of the rock,
In the loftiness of your dwelling place,
Who say in your heart,
'Who will bring me down to earth?'
"Though you build high like the eagle, Though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down," declares the LORD.

The section summary says, "Edom will be humbled," so you already know, if you have done any reading or heard any Scripture, that what follows is not going to be pretty. [
Interesting to note that Jeremiah 49: 14-17 echoes these very passages of Obadiah.]

Obadiah has received a vision from God, and he emphasizes the source of his speech through his use of "Thus says the Lord God...."

An envoy, or messenger, brings news to the nations that they should rise up against Edom. Why? Did other nations have something against Edom? Sure, every nation has enemies. But to go to battle...right now? Truly, God was the one who had something against Edom, and He was the one with the sovereign power to control the situation (i.e., convicting Edom's enemies that "now is the time").

God turns His focus directly to Edom in verse 2: "I will make you small among the nations...." Small. The King James Version says "small among the heathen," which refers to Gentile nations. God said He despised Edom. The roots for the English word despise come from roots that mean "to look down upon" and to look upon as a "spectacle." As we continue to read through this short book (and the words from the other prophets) and discover what happened to Edom, we will see clearly that God chose His words with great intent.

Verse 3 brings us, literally, to the heart of the matter--"Arrogance of the heart." Pride. Edom had built up its own sense of security. It was located in a very high and rocky place. Rock climbers with gear might reach the city of Petra (which means rock), but Edom was otherwise its own impenetrable fortress. It took the luxury of its physical position for granted and its blossoming self-reliance led it to sacrifice any reliance upon God in the process.

Pride is not one of those things God takes lightly. Note Proverbs 16:18--"
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Edom was one of the worst offenders. The people who proclaimed, "Who will bring me down?", not expecting an answer.

But God answered, through Obadiah, that He looked down upon Edom--literally, figuratively and in every other way! The bird of prey with its aerie in the starry skies--no match for the God who created them and everything else.

As we read on, God unveils His plans for the destruction of Edom.
'Til next Wednesday!

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing....
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing....
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
From age to age the same,
and He must win the battle.

--from "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," Martin Luther


* * *

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).


Edie said...

I think of our own nation as I read this. We have become so self reliant and haughty and even many Christians don't realize it or the severity of it.

I'm so glad you're only posting these once a week. Maybe I can keep up. :)

The Patterson 5 said...

I was thinking like Edie- Our nation has become prideful in our own resourses- forgetting to whom we recieved these blessings. Self reliant beings we are not. We were made to rely on God for everything and to worship and give thanks for our blessings.

Sue J. said...

I think it's important to mention that though the text makes us think about other circumstances of other places that this prophecy was clearly for Edom. This story does have an ending!

The troublesome thing about prophecy is that some folks extrapolate the Word out too far. (Not saying you're doing that, Edie, I'm just clarifying for folks in general.) Some events listed within the prophets have already occurred. Some won't occur until the time Christ returns.

Can we glean some understanding about who God is and what His principles are from reading prophecy? Oh yeah! But we need to be careful about the facts, as some of this is definitely history.

(And, Edie, yes, I think once a week through prophecy makes a lot of sense--for me, too!!)

Edie said...

I agree with you Sue J. We can learn about God's character, His heart for His people, and how He wants our obedience through the prophecies, for those things apply to all. The exact details of the prophecy pertain only to the specific person, place, or thing it was intended.

B His Girl said...

"The arrogance of your heart has deceived you,

That is so powerful to me. b

Carmen said...

Pride is such an ugly thing. Such an affront! They asked the question expecting no answer--as if they didn't need God. Arrogant is right!