Obadiah 1, Psalm 108
Since Obadiah is the shortest of all Old Testament books, I have to briefly comment. It is good to remember that Edom is the land inhabited by the descendants of Esau, older brother to and perpetual rival to Jacob, aka Israel. It seems that Edom, or Esau, gloats at the demise of Judah at the hands of Babylon. Obadiah is a contemporary of Jeremiah writing after the fall of Jerusalem (587) before the fall of Edom (553), so he is well positioned to comment on Edom’s treatment in this time. Consider, then, just how long lasting the family feud between Jacob and Esau lasted. The apostle Paul will comment heavily on God’s choice of Jacob over Esau (see Romans 9), but I did think it especially interesting to note that many people believe that Herod, the opponent of John the Baptist and Jesus, was an Edomite (credit Ray Stedman). The ongoing disputes between Israel and Edom reflect God’s freedom in choosing one nation to bless in spite of birthright position and strength. In our passage, Edom is charged with pride, envy, callousness, and a lack of love. Though God judges Israel harshly for her disobedience, consider the grave fact God will wipe the seed of Esau out (Obadiah 1:18). Interestingly in light of that prophecy, Herod would be instrumental in seeing Jesus crucified, but now it is the descendants of Abraham through faith that grow in number today. Herod is forgotten except that he is connected with the events of Jesus’ life. God keeps promises and fulfills judgement. Amen.