Books of the Bible
AUTHOR: Obadiah. Though nothing whatever is told about Obadiah in the Bible, his name means “servant” or “worshipper of Jehovah.” There are 12 Obadiah’s in the Bible. It was a common name among the Hebrews, but nothing else is known about Obadiah. Obadiah is one of only four prophets about whom we know nothing. The other three are Habakkuk, Haggai and Malachi.
One was a servant of Ahab and the other was a superintendent of temple construction in the days of Josiah. It was like our common names, “John,” “James,” etc.
Obadiah is the shortest book of the Old Testament.
It is believed that Obadiah quoted Jeremiah. (Compare Obadiah 1-8 with Jeremiah 49:7-22).
It is also believed that Obadiah quoted Joel. (Compare Obadiah 15-17 with Joel 2:32). Note the phrase “The Day of the Lord.”
The Lord God will set the record straight at the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ and will obliterate the Edomites and their Muslim nations (Isaiah 34; Ezekiel 35; Obadiah 17-21; Malachi 1:3-4; Galatians 4:22-31).
Obadiah is the only place where God describes why he hated Esau.
THEME: “The Punishment of Edom.”
Obadiah 1:3-4 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.
TIME: Most think that Obadiah wrote shortly after the captivity of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar – about 587 B.C. It was during the time that Zedekiah reigned.
INTRODUCTION: The book of Obadiah is occupied with one subject-the punishment of Edom for his cruel and unbrotherly conduct toward Judah at the time of some great and national calamity.
It is divided into three different sections:
(1) Verses 1-9 tell of the destruction of Edom;
(2) Verses 10-16 tell the causes of destruction;
(3) Verses 17-21 tell of the salvation and final victory of Israel over Edom.
The Edomites were the descendants of Esau (Genesis 36:1), the brother of Jacob. Remember that Esau was the hunter, the outdoors man who sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage and whose blessing Jacob received because he deceived his father, Isaac. This same Esau married an Ishmaelite. The Ishmaelites were descendants of Abraham and Hagar, the Egyptian bondwoman.
It really helps to understand that the Edomites or Ishmaelites are modern Arabs. Not all Arabs are Muslim, but most are.
God’s people were not to marry outside their own race. Hence, the wife of Esau was from a mixed marriage. Esau himself had a mixed marriage. From him came the Edomites, a hybrid race which caused lots of trouble to God’s people. (Teacher, warn the pupils here against marrying outside the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not want His people to marry the unconverted.)
The name Edom means “red.” Esau’s name was changed to “Edom” or “red” because he sold his birthright for the red soup.
Again and again in the Bible we find bad, mixed, idolatrous races whom God curses because they were started by unholy alliances or marriages. For example, the Moabites and the Ammonites were the descendants of Moab and of Ammon, who were the children of Lot and his daughters. A wicked race followed. How careful Christian young people ought to be concerning their marriages!
The main thing about the book of Obadiah, however, is the fact that God is going to judge Edom because of her treatment of Israel. Let us notice sane of the things that she did.
PETRA was the strong hold of Edom.
It was one of the wonders of the ancient world.
It is perched high among inaccessible mountain passes.
The only approach was through a 700 ft. high narrow pass that was 1 mile long.
The city was able to withstand against any invasion.
There were 1,000 temples cut into the sides of the pink sand-stone.
The dwellings were mostly caves hewn out of the sand-stone.
In other words, she fought against God’s people. This is never right. God’s people should never fight against each other. We should never criticize God’s people. We should love them and stand for them.
III. THE EDOMITES JOINED WITH MOAB AND AMMON IN AN INVASION OF JUDAH AT THE TIME OF JEHOSHAPHAT.
2 Chronicles 20:22. In other words, they fought against the people of God. Notice they joined the Moabites and the Ammonites. Here is an unholy alliance. (Teacher, stress the importance of running with the right crowd. Stress the importance of marrying only saved people. Stress the importance of not fighting against God’s people.)
THE EDOMITES PLUNDERED THE KING’S PALACE IN JERUSALEM AND SLEW HIS SON.
2 Chronicles 21:8, 17; Joel 3:19; Amos 1:11. There were at least four instances when Edom helped in the plunder of Jerusalem and Judah.
THE EDOMITES WERE ALWAYS ON THE WATCH TO SMITE JUDAH AND TO CARRY AWAY CAPTIVES.
2 Chronicles 28:17
WHEN NEBUCHADNEZZAR BESIEGED JERUSALEM, EDOM GLADLY JOINED THE INVADERS.
Ezekiel 35; 36:5. They helped to plunder the city and to cut off the stragglers who endeavored to escape. How sad when the work of God is fought! (Teacher, stress this important truth to the pupils: We should never fight the work of God. Though another church might criticize us, we should not criticize them. Though another preacher might criticize our preacher, we should not retaliate. Vengeance belongs to God. We should never be guilty of fighting God’s work or God’s man.)
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: You need to use Galatians 4:22-31. The several contrasting sets represent the differences between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. The law, Hagar, and Ishmael represent the bondage of the flesh. Grace, Sarah, and Isaac represent the liberty of the Spirit. The political overtones are evident also. As the Arabs hinder the Jews so the flesh hinders the Spirit. The Arabs have no lawful right to the land of Palestine (Genesis 17:19; 27:29; Ezekiel 35:11-15; Obadiah 17-21; Malachi 1:2-4).
CONCLUSION: The Edomites were rather safe from attack. The territory occupied by the Edomites extended from the southern end of the Dead Sea to the Atlantic Gulf and comprised an area of about 2,000 square miles. It was a mountainous district, and it was called the Mount of Esau or Mount Seir. It was near the rose-red city of Petra and offered security and safety to the Edomites. Petra was a wonder of the world. It was High in the rocks of the mountain. (Eagles nests) It had narrow passes to get in that were over 700 feet high (One mile long). Eagles and hawks sailed overhead. Water and wild fruit was in abundance. Many people believe that the caves and holes in the rocks of Petra will play a big part in the Jews hiding places in the Tribulation. In Petra there are 1,000 temples cut out of the pink sandstone. In spite of this fact, God punished the Edomites with utter destruction. This is because they fought the people of God, aligned themselves with those who were not God’s people, would not stand by their friends, their family, etc.. They were a very proud, self-sufficient people. After the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem, they disappeared from history. The book of Obadiah is a very small book and seemingly an insignificant one. However, in it many lessons are taught. May we learn from them.