Obadiah is one of the few prophets that speak entirely to a nation other than Israel. Although God’s people often turn from Him, they are still His Chosen People. Like a loving Father, though He may discipline and rebuke His children when they do wrong, He will always protect them and will deal with those who mistreat them. This is the case with Edom, a nation that was related to the Israelites. They were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother. As Israel was going through hard times (many were taken captive to Babylon), instead of Edom helping their relatives they gloated and often attacked and looted their homes. God does not look kindly on those who mistreat His people and they will suffer the consequences. Even though Obadiah was speaking specifically to the Edomites, it may be something to take note for other nations and peoples as well.
“For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side—in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem—even you were as one of them. “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped; nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.”
Edom thought they were above Israel and as they gloated and caused violence against them, God was watching. Because of that, the nation of Edom soon saw its own demise. Soon after, Arab nations conquered Edom and those that were left were run to the southern part of Israel and by the second century B.C., they were under the rule of the resurgent Jewish kingdom.
The South shall possess the mountains of Esau, and the Lowland shall possess Philistia. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the captives of this host of the children of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath. The captives of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the South. Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.
“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head. For as you drank on My holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been. “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau shall be stubble; they shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” For the LORD has spoken.”
Prideful nations often fall. This applies today. The nations that are strong now may not stay that way if they continue in their pride, doing things on their own without God and treating others unfairly. Think of where those nations such as Babylon, Persia and the Romans are now. Think of those nations that tried to wipe out Israel and where they are now.
“Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be greatly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” says the LORD.”
How often pride catches up to those who think they are better than others. God hates pride. It eats away at relationships and turns people’s hearts from good. God looks at our hearts and sees. He wants what is best for all people. Through humility and kindness, we should help one another and be blessed by it. Throughout the Bible, God speaks of pride and humility. If we want to be treated kindly by others, we need to let go of our pride and treat them as we would want to be treated.
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
How often the devil uses pride to put a wedge between people and those they care most about and with God. Let us remember the grace that Christ gave us through His humility, through His love and sacrifice and let us show grace to others.