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Obadiah – The mighty eagle will be brought down

In Hebrew, Lord GOD is actually Lord Yahweh. Obadiah is about how Yahweh is the sovereign Lord not only of Israel but also the nations. The smallest book of the Old Testament is about God’s judgment on Edom.

Edom was a proud nation. Google ‘Petra’ and you will see the kinds of dwellings the Edomites would make high up in the rocky faces of the mountains. Obadiah points out how in their pride as they lived in the clefts of the rocks, they would say in their hearts, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” The Lord Yahweh’s response was, “Though you soar aloft like the eagle in the heights from there I will bring you down.”

We too live in a day of human pride in our accomplishments. One recalls 2 Tim 3:1-4: In the last days people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, lovers of self rather than lovers of God. As Edom faced judgment so our world awaits a judgment day.

One of the reasons why Edom was going to face judgment was because how they had related to Israel (remember that Esau and Jacob were brothers). God had expected the two brothers and the two nations to act like brothers (remember how God had expected Cain to be his brother’s keeper). When Judah/Israel experienced the day of their calamity and distress rather than offer refuge Edom had looted Jerusalem, betrayed his brother, and cut off the survivors as they had fled.

God judges with an eye for eye kind of justice hence Edom would be pillaged and subject to theft, Edom’s allies and friends would betray them, and Edom would be cut off without survivors. With the measure they used God would measure to them. As God’s people had a day from the Yahweh for judgment so too would Edom experience a day of the Lord.

Obadiah ends with a future expression of hope for Judah/Israel. Unlike Edom, they shall have survivors. Those survivors would return and worship Lord Yahweh on Mount Zion (in his presence). No matter how far they had been scattered God would restore them to the land and to their inheritances – in fact, they would share in the kingdom of God. The ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy lies not in the Middle East in this old age but in the new earth where God’s people – including us – will inherit the earth and dwell and worship Lord Yahweh in his presence and in the presence of Jesus who is all that the earthly Mount Zion represented.