Doom, Gloom and Hope.
The book of Obadiah is a prophetic book bringing a warning against the nation of Edom. From the day that the people of Israel had entered into the Promised Land given to them by God, the Edomites, descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin, had been a source of contention. They refused to allow the Israelites to pass through their territory on their way into the Promised Land and it had gone downhill from there. They were enemies of Saul, David, Solomon and Jeshoshaphat. They also rebelled against Jehoram. As a result, God had some bad news for the people of Edom. A prideful people who lived in virtually impregnable conditions in the cliffs south of the Dead Sea, they were going to experience the humbling discipline of God. He was going to breach their defenses (Vs 2-4), plunder their treasure (Vs 5-7), and destroy their leadership (Vs 8-9). But while most of the book of Obadiah seems to be words of warning against the people of Edom, it was written to the people of Judah. This book was meant to be a word of encouragement to the people of God about His sovereign rule and reign over their lives, circumstances, and future.
God was not unaware or indifferent to the condition of the people of Judah. He knew what was going on. He was fully aware of the events taking place around them, and this included the behavior of such nations as Edom. While it may have appeared to the people of God that He was unsympathetic or preoccupied elsewhere during their times of difficulty, nothing could have been further from the truth. He was not only aware, He was in control. And He had a plan. The message of Obadiah was one of hope for the people of God because He was going to act on their behalf. He was going to right all the wrongs, defend the helpless, and keep His covenant promises. It may get worse before it gets better, but IT WILL get better. Much better. Nations like Edom will not be able to stand against the wrath of God. When Christ returns to Earth the second time, He will wage war against the nations that have aligned themselves against God and His people.
It is interesting to note that when Jesus came to earth as a baby, Herod the Great, an Edomite, tried to have Him destroyed when he put to death all the Jewish boys under the age of two. The animosity of the Edomites against the people of God continued even in that day. But Herod would fail and the plan of God would succeed. Even today, there are nations trying to destroy the people of God – the nation of Israel. Jerusalem itself is a battle ground of contention and strife between Muslims and Jews. The Palestinians and Iranians would love to see Israel completely eliminated from the face of the earth. But God is their protector. He will not allow that to happen. He is in control and He is going to finish what He began with the people of Israel. He is going to fulfill every promise He has ever made to them. Obadiah is a reminder to us all that God is in control. He knows what is going on around us. He knows our hurts, cares, and concerns. And He has a plan. He will ultimately right every wrong, destroy every enemy of His, and restore righteousness to the earth. Even in the midst of all the doom and gloom, we can have hope – because our God lives!
Father, never let me lose hope – no matter how bad things may look around me. You are still on Your throne and You still have a plan that You are working behind the scenes in ways that I can’t see. Help me to rest in Your promises. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men