The Kingdom Will Be The Lord's

Minor Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

The book of Obadiah is a bit unusual in the Minor Prophets - where most of the Minor Prophets are written to Israel and Judah, the people of the Old Covenant, Obadiah is a message given to the nation of Edom, a people outside of God’s covenant. Obadiah tells us that a message has been heard from the Lord, and that an envoy has been summoned to wage war against Edom. We don’t know if this envoy was comissioned by God, but we do know that they will be used by God in judgment.
So this is the vision of Obadiah, but these are the words of the God of Israel. God begins by telling Edom that he will make them small, insignificant and despised among the nations. He warns them of the pride in their hearts: See, Edom was a nation that resided in the mountains. Now, I know when I say things like this, everyone nods their heads like they understand that that was a good thing. But let me put it in more modern terms: Edom had nuclear weapons. It’s not a one-to-one comparison, but that was the sort of confidence that residing on a mountain gave. Especially when you lived on a mountain similar to Edom’s mountain, where it wasn’t exactly easy to go up. Your animals couldn’t get everywhere, and they certainly weren’t flying up in helicopters, driving up in humvees, or parachuting in. Getting to Edom wasn’t easy, especially if you wanted to take an entire army up for battle. Their perch gave them great confidence for a few reasons. First is that, if you want to get to Edom, it’s difficult, and it would have been incredibly easy to set up a handful of soldiers at various spots on the mountain, and given the difficulty of the terrain, this handful of soldiers could head off an entire army. The second reason this would make them confident is the same reason the military uses drones: a bird’s eye view is the best view, especially in defense. If you can see the enemy coming because you have a good vantage point, you have more time to prepare. So you can see how this is the “nuclear weapon” of the ancient world, it was the best defense.
But even having such good defense comes with problems. For instance, Edom was unable to do much for either farming or livestock. Edom was almost completely reliant upon trade for their survival. They needed to be able to trade what they had, and the few things they could produce, for things they needed. This fact is extremely important.
So Edom is incredibly confident of their safety - after all, no one can bring them down. “But...” says Yahweh, “.... though you soar like the eagle, and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down declares the LORD”. God says to them, “you can head off people who come up to you, you have a bird’s eye view, but you’re forgetting to look up - where I am.” Edom takes great pride in their position, but they are vulnerable before the Lord.
So now God begins to tell them what their fate will be, but he starts off with a series of rhetorical questions. How many of us have had someone break into your house? Thankfully, my wife and I have not yet had this experience. I spent a while working in a pawn shop, and as decent as most of our customers were, we still had thieves - taking from us, but also taking from others and selling to us. About every day or two, someone would walk into our shop and say: “Someone broke into our house last night, and they took..... has anyone brought them in?” I can tell you that the list of things taken was never, without exception, more than maybe eight items. Because thieves don’t take everything. They take what they’re looking for, or what they can sell, and they leave. They don’t care about your bottle of asprin, your toilet paper, or your hand towels right? That’s the first rhetorical question that Yahweh asks Edom: if theives came to you, won’t they only take what they want?
But he follows it up with another rhetorical question that they would have been familiar with. He asks if grape pickers wouldn’t leave a few grapes on the vine when they come. Edom couldn’t do much for agriculture, but they did grow grapes, so they would have been familiar with this. See, I grew up on a farm, where my family planted - by hand - about 2000 tomato plants each year, and then hundreds of other plants of different kinds of produce. Now, I’m color-blind, so especially with tomatoes, I was pretty well worthless when it came to harvesting. But my dad can tell you, and I can tell you from other types of produce, even if you’re trying to be thorough, you miss something every time. With 2000 tomato plants, my dad wasn’t going to get every ripe tomato on the first pass, though he’d try. See, in the Ancient Near East, it was customary to leave small amounts of produce unharvested so that foreigners and the poor could “glean” what was left unharvested. There’s always something leftover.
But unfortunately, this is not the case for Edom. Yahweh tells them that even what they have hidden will be taken. Now, I mentioned earlier how Edom was reliant upon trade for their survival. This is important here, because God tells them that they will be pushed to the border by their allies, they will be overpowered by their friends, and those they trust will set a trap for them. As a nation reliant upon trade, you tend to have a lot of friends - you have something that everyone wants (which for Edom was likely salt and incense), and you need a variety of friends to get the things you need and want for trade. So naturally, you would think that someone would come to your aid. But this is not the case for Edom.
Now Yahweh turns to the reason for Edom’s judgment. “Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob...” God tells them that when they did nothing for their brother on the day of his trouble, they were just like those who attacked him. Jesus says about this “those who are not with me are against me”. But as if this wasn’t enough, they begin to take part in it, like the bully who only jumps in the fight once other kids have begun. Then, in their pride, they begin to gloat and boast over Israel and Judah. They have failed to come to the aid of God’s covenant people, their own brother, and have since turned on him.
But for the sake of His covenant people, God will not let this go. Here again, we hear of this terrible “day of the LORD”. God says that it is coming for all nations, and as they have done, it will be done to them. Just as Edom stood by while their brother was destroyed, so will there be no help for them when destruction comes upon them.
But here is where the encouragement comes for Israel: In Mount Zion, there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame, and Esau will be stubble. they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken. Can you imagine the massive anxiety of this word for an Edomite? Not only will your homeland be completely destroyed, and left devoid of any of it’s possessions, but you, even if you hear this, will not live through it. At least for the Israelite hearing a prophetic word about their coming exile has the small hope of wondering whether they will survive it. But for Edom, there is no such hope. Esau will have absolutely no survivors.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more