Series: Minor Prophets
Minor Prophet? Obadiah
God’s Humbling of the Proud and Lifting Up of the Humble
The Book of ObadiahObadiah, the shortest book of the minor prophets, only 21 verses in it’s one and only chapter. Big things come in small packages. Obadiah brings a message from God to Edom specifically, and to God’s people of all time, generally. Edom is the nation of descendents from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. And Jacob’s descendents became known as the nation of Israel, of both Judah and Israel as time went on. Jacob and Esau wrestled with one another their entire lives. It was a sibling rivalry like none other. These two nations of people, descended from Jacob and Esau were near neighbors and never got along.
They would gloat when the other experienced hardship. In many ways they were indifferent to each other’s failings, successes, or troubles. So when the Jacob’s descendents in both the northern kingdom (Assyria 721 BC) and the southern kingdom (Babylon 586 BC) were taken into captivity/exile, Edom (Esau’s descendents) stood by and watched and did nothing to aid their brothers and sisters descended from the same father and mother. They displayed everything from gloating to indifference. Obadiah’s message is a strong message to Edom.
Sure, Israel’s judgment was deserved. And Obadiah’s message to Edom is about a coming judgment of them, again, deserved. Yet, there is a way out, a better way forward, by way of repentance.
In today’s world, where division seems to spring from the ground at every relationship turn, we would do well to hear God’s word through Obadiah, and respond accordingly. Humanity, born of the same father and mother, is waging war against one another in a myriad ways today with intention to separate.
Robert Mulholland quotes a wise person from his life in his book The Deeper Journey – The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self, “Repentance is not being sorry for the things you have done, but being sorry you are the kind of person who does such things.” It would seem that the biggest barrier to overcoming our divisions is our pride. We think we are better than. We see another’s misfortune as deserved. We do not think we ourselves are capable of hate, violence, evil, wrongdoing. This sets us up for a humbling by God. For God does humble the proud and he lifts up the humble. This is who God is and this is what God does.
Yet still, God’s last word is found in Jesus. The door to blessing is through Him and through repentance. Not just being sorry for the things we have done, but being sorry that we are the kind of people who can do such things.
Sunday, Obadi-ya. Hope to see ya, hate to miss ya, God’s blessing on ya,