Devotion – Obadiah
“"The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. (Obadiah 1:15 NIV)
Have you been depressed because your world was coming to an end and enemies are gloating? Are lies and defamatory remarks about you being circulated? Are you betrayed by so called friends? Are you discriminated against because you are a Christian? Take comfort that God watches over his people . God will take action for he controls the course of history.
The theme of Obadiah is to show that God judges Edom for its pride and for the harm Edom caused to God’s people. The prophet Obadiah knew that Judah’s calamity – the Babylonian invasion – was deserved. Judah had sinned . God had promised Judgment. Edom should have seen God’s judgment on Judah and repented of her own pride and trembled. Instead, Edom gloated. Edom also egged the Babylonians to kill every Jew, including babies. See Psalm 137:7-9 Edom even robbed and killed Jewish refugees fleeing the Babylonians.
But God is in control of nations and mankind. God turns the events of nations and history as he pleases. In the sixth century B.C. the Nabateans, an eastern Arabian tribe, conquered Edom. Later, the Jewish people under John Hyrcanus and Simon of Gerasa conquered it. This fulfilled the prophecy that Edom would be eventually taken by Israel.
Romans 8: 28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Let us take the prophecy of Obadiah as a warning to us and also as an encouragement at the same time. Let us not gloat when others fall into difficulties. God is watching. Our enemies may have mistreated us but we should extend a helping hand when they are judged by God. Similarly, when we are in difficulties, God is watching and will punish those who step on His people when they are down.
Elder Teo Keng Siang
Footnote: Who are the Edomites? They are the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Ancient Edom occupied the mountain-encircled plain on the east of the Arabah. The highest of the mountain rises to 1,200 meters . Only one horse at a time could travel through the narrow passages through the mountains. The Edomites took great pride in their natural defences.
Chronology of conflict between Edom and Israel.
· Jacob and Esau struggled in their mother’s womb Genesis 25:19-26
o Esau sold his birthright and blessing to Jacob Genesis 25:29-34
· Jacob get Isaac’s blessing meant for Esau Genesis 27:1-42
· Edom refused to let the Israelites pass through its land Numbers 20:14-22
· Israel’s kings had constant conflict with Edom. Saul 1 Samuel 14:47 David 2 Samuel 8:13-14 Solomon 1 Kings 11:14-22 Jehoram 2 Kings 8:20-22; Ahaz 2 Chronicles 28:16-18
· Edom egged on Babylon to destroy Jerusalem Psalm 137:7-9