Abbreviated Expositional Sermon
Main point summary
Though God will firmly punish his prideful and violent enemies, he will remain faithful to his promises to his people, defending them for his name's sake.
The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God a concerning Edom: b We have heard a report from the Lord , and a messenger has been sent among the nations: “Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!” Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised. 1
c The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, 1 in your lofty dwelling, d who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars,
from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord .
If e thieves came to you, if plunderers came by night— how you have been destroyed!— would they not steal only enough for themselves? If e grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave gleanings?
f How Esau has been pillaged, his treasures sought out!
All your allies have driven you to your border; those at peace with you have deceived you; they have prevailed against you; g those who eat your bread 1 have set a trap beneath you— h you have 2 no understanding.
i Will I not on that day, declares the Lord , destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of j Mount Esau?
And your mighty men shall be dismayed, k O Teman, so that every man from j Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.
l Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, m and you shall be cut off forever.
n On the day that you stood aloof, o on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates p and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.
q But do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune; r do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin; s do not boast 1 in the day of distress.
t Do not enter the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; t do not gloat over his disaster in the day of his calamity; u do not loot his wealth in the day of his calamity.
v Do not stand at the crossroads to cut off his fugitives; do not hand over his survivors in the day of distress.
For w the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. x As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.
y For as you have drunk on z my holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been.
a But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, b and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
c The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau d stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, e and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken.
Those of f the Negeb b shall possess g Mount Esau, and those of the Shephelah shall possess h the land of the Philistines; they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of i Samaria, and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. The exiles of this host of the people of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as j Zarephath, and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
k Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule g Mount Esau,
and l the kingdom shall be the Lord ’s.
Abbreviated Expositional Sermon
Obadiah: God’s Relentless Love Fights on Behalf of His People Introduction : Have you ever known siblings who love to fight? The interesting things about siblings who love to fight is that they will fight and insult one another. BUT…if you ever say something to one of them about his brother…OH, BOY. You better watch out! They defend family to the death. You could be in conversation with one, and he’d say, “Man, my brother is so annoying!” And you’d say, “Yeah, I know, I think he can be too.” And he’d say, “What’d you say about my brother?!?” The first reason I point out this reality of fighting siblings is because the prophet Obadiah addresses one of two fighting nations…these fighting nations descended from two fighting siblings…these fighting siblings were LITERALLY fighting one another when they were in their mother’s womb (no joke!). The second reason I point out the reality of fighting siblings is because it’s similar to how God interacts with his people. Now, he is nothing like the character of fighting siblings. But God does discipline his own people. And yet, he comes to their aid and fights on their behalf when others treat his people wrongly. And that’s the big idea with the prophet Obadiah that we will look at this morning: God’s relentless love fights on behalf of his people. Context : One of the most unique things about the prophecy of Obadiah is that it is not directed to the nation of Israel. Rather, it is a prophecy to unbelievers. Or, you could say, a direct message from God to his enemies . In fact, we don’t actually know anything about Obadiah himself (other than that his name means “servant of Yahweh”) and so in this way, his message is uniquely from God. So, if Obadiah’s prophecy is not directed to God’s people, whom is the prophecy directed towards? The answer is the nation of Edom. Who is the nation of Edom? Let me answer the questions “Where, Who, and What” about Edom. 1. Where? Where was Edom? Edom was southeast of Israel’s southern border, in a mountainous region. This gave them somewhat of a geographic advantage and led to arrogance as they “looked down” on the other nations around them. This is important because this attitude is directly addressed in the prophecy: “you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’” (v.3). 2. Who? Who were the Edomites? The Edomites were descendants from Esau, the brother of Jacob. The important thing to know here is that the Edomites were bitter enemies of their brothers the Israelites. This hostility literally started in Rebekah’s womb. Gen 25:21-23 : “And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, ‘If it is thus, why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided: the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.’” And then, as a living illustration of what God has said, we read: Gen 25:25-26 : “The first came out red…so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. The first thing we learn from Obadiah’s prophecy, right out of the gate, is that God fights for his people. And this covers verses 1-16. 1. God fights against his enemies (1-16). vv.1-2: “Thus says the LORD God concerning Edom: We have heard a report from the LORD, and a messenger has been sent among the nations: ‘Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!’ Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised.” God is going to make Edom small among the nations. Despised. Application : Edom is a representative of God’s enemies in this prophecy. But these same things could be said of all of God’s enemies. Everyone is either a friend of God or enemy of God. If this is indeed the case, it is of eternal importance to know what it means to be an enemy of God. In Obadiah we see two things about God’s enemies that help us see the reason that they are God’s enemies: their character and actions. The Character of God’s Enemies (3-4). Explanation : The start of verse 3 says it all: “the pride of your heart has deceived you.” Look at how they viewed themselves: v.3: “you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’” The Edomites thought they were in complete control. But, oh, were they ever deceived. Isn’t that what pride does? It deceives. Pride deceives us into thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Illustration : I remember playing a game with my two sons. One 5 and one 3. The 3 year old didn’t know the game well. We tried explaining it but he refused to listen. So, we just let him do what he wanted on his turn. He proceeded to roll the dice, gain far less points than if he had listened to our explanation of how to play the game, and then 3-year old Jeremy raised his hands in the air in triumph after his turn and said, “Mommy, I’m beasting it!” Candice looked at me as we laughed and said, “Ignorance is bliss.” Or, as the prophet Obadiah said, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” Pride deceives. Transition : God’s enemies are characterized by pride. But we’re also told about the actions of God’s enemies. The Actions of God’s Enemies (10-14) Explanation : God’s enemies are violent. They fight against God’s people. We see this clearly in v.10: “ Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.” You can almost hear the defensiveness of God in v.13: “Do not enter the gate of my people in the day of their calamity…” What’s described here is Jerusalem’s darkest day. When Babylon attacked, there were real Edomites that hid and waited for them in real locations only to capture them and turn them back in to the Babylonians. God’s enemies mistreat his people and gloat over the fact that his people are mistreated. But what we learn from these verses is that GOD SEES IT . God sees the mistreatment and abuse of his people. And he will not stand for it: justice will come. v.15-16 – “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations . As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been.” Those who set themselves against God often seem to drink temporary cups of celebration, but their end is a cup of wrath that God will make them drink to the last drop. The first part of Obadiah makes this certain: God has enemies, and he will fight them, and he will win. Transition : After the first part of Obadiah, you might ask, “Is there anything comforting in this prophet?” Yes, there is, in verses 17-21. Because here we come to see that even though God will fight his enemies and judge them for their sin, he will be faithful to his promises and act in kindness towards his people for his name’s sake. 2. God fights for his people (17-21). (v.17) “But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.” Explanation : In the end, God will finally deliver his people. He will gather a people for his own name (“But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape”). God promises that he will finally deliver his people to their promised place to be with him forever. In verses 19-20, God names places East, West, North, and South, and describes his people possessing a land space that stretched even farther and wider than during the united monarchy under David and Solomon. The message to God’s people would have been crystal clear. The restoration of God’s people would be real, tangible, expansive, and definite. These two verses highlight the commitment of God to his promises and his people. Conclusion : In conclusion, I want to point you to the final phrase of this prophecy (v.21): “…and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.” The grand purpose of God’s work on behalf of his people is for his name’s sake. The kingdom will be the Lord’s. This is the end of Obadiah’s prophecy. And really, this is THE final word. The kingdom will be the Lord’s. So, where do you stand before God? As an enemy or as a friend? The Edomites lifted a cup of celebration but would end with a cup of wrath (v.16). Jesus drank a cup of wrath, offering his life in our place, so that we can lift a cup of celebration . This prophecy should lead us to rejoice in a God who is relentlessly committed to his people and his promises for his name’s sake.