5 Lessons From the Life of Obadiah

Obadiah wrote one of the shortest books in the bible, just twenty-one verses. His message centers on the coming judgement of the nation of Edom. Genesis 25-27 lays the foundation of the strife between two nations; Israel and Edom. Twin brothers were born to Isaac and Rebecca, but while they were still in her womb, God told Rebecca that the older brother ( Esau) would serve the younger brother ( Jacob). As the boys grew up, their parents unwisely played favourites. Esau became his father's pride and joy, and Jacob found favor with his mother. This resulted in jealousy between the two brothers. The older brother, Esau despised his birthright as the firstborn son and sold it to his brother, Jacob for a bowl of porridge. 

Rebecca chose to interfere by deceiving and scheming so that Jacob received the blessing of the firstborn son, hereby, not trusting God to accomplish his purpose. 

Esau threatened to kill Jacob and this made him run away from. The two brothers did not see each other for years. After a while, Esau's anger abated and he reconciled with Jacob. However the strife between them went down through the generations and despite the fact that they were blood relatives, there was enmity between the generations, Edom and Israel.

God sent Obadiah to the people of Edom and his prophecy for them focuses on the destructive power of pride. As at the time, Israel was suffering greatly from the hand of it's enemies and God's judgement came upon Edom because instead of helping their brother, Israel, they participated in the offenses against God's people. The people of Edom had been guilty of pride before the lord ( Obadiah 1:3). They had thought themselves greater than they actually were; great enough to mock, steal from, and even harm God's chosen people. 

Through Obadiah, God reminded Edom of their poor treatment of his people and promised redemption, not to the Edomites but to the people of Judah. The nation of Edom , which eventually disappeared into history remains one of the prime examples of the truth," Pride goes before a fall".

Let us explore 5 object lessons from the life of Obadiah

1. God despises the pride

Obadiah 1:3 tells us that, " The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in the loftiness of your dwelling place, who say in your heart, " Who will bring me down to earth ?"  The nation of Edom made a big mistake by challenging God to a power struggle. Prude deceived their hearts just as it will always deceive us. How much better would it have been for Edom to lay down their pride and humbly accept God's choice of Israel. Instead of God's judgement, they would have benefitted from the blessings of God as supporters of his people. 

2. The power of the kingdom of God

The day of God is near and God will visit God's people and execute judgement over sin and death. The day of the lord will be a day of salvation for all God's people. Obadiah 1:21 says, " And saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the lord's". 

God will establish his own kingdom where the hurting are healed, the lost are forgiven, and the displaced are brought home. As people of Christ, we are assured that the day of God will come and the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of this prophecy. 

The judgement of God is near for all nations. Obadiah 1:15 says, " For the day of the lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee : thy reward shall return upon thine own head". God who does not sleep nor slumber, sees all that we do, and he will judge perfectly.

3. God stands up for his people.

Obadiah 1:10, " Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever ".

Jacob and Esau were brothers. Jacob became Israel and Esau became Edom. God's chosen people were attacked and there was no silver of respected between Israel and Edom. While Jerusalem was suffering , the people of Edom were content and they watched it's destruction. For this reason, the people of Edom suffered. 

The lord is a jealous God and he will stand up for his own people. Zechariah revealed God's love and possessiveness for the children of Israel hen he called them ' the apple of his eye'.  God promised Abraham that those who cursed him would be cursed. God has set his favour upon the children of Israel and they are his chosen people.

As christians, we must remember that we have a responsibility to stand up for the right. We must do all we can to ensure that people everywhere are treated with respect and honor.

We you decide to follow Jesus, you become his chosen, and he will certainly stand up for you.

4. God's sovereignty

The lesson of God's sovereignty as learned from the life of Obadiah centers on the belief that God is ultimately in control of human affairs, including the rise and fall of nations, the outcome of conflicts and the fulfilment of prophetic messages. Obadiah prophesied about the downfall of Edom due to its pride, arrogance and mistreatment of Israel. This prophecy shows that God intervenes in human affairs to execute judgement against those who act unjustly to oppress others. 

Despite human actions and intentions, God's word is fulfilled and this demonstrates his ultimate authority and sovereignty.

Also, while Obadiah's prophecy pronounces judgement on Edom, it also holds out the promise of redemption and restoration for Israel. This exemplifies God's sovereignty not only in executing judgement but also in extending grace and mercy to those who turn to him in repentance.

5. The power of prophecy 

Obadiah's ability to receive and convey prophetic messages from God shows the importance of spiritual sensitivity and openness  to divine communication.

Through prophecy, Obadiah was able to gain insights and knowledge about the future of both Israel and Edom. Obadiah's role as a prophet carries a significant responsibility to convey divine messages accurately.

How can we apply these lessons to our lives?

The downfall of Edom serves as a lesson about the dangers of pride and arrogance. It reminds us as christians and the body of Christ of the need to humble ourselves before God and acknowledge his sovereignty over our lives. 

As christians, we need to cultivate a deeper awareness of God's presence and openness to divine communication through prayer, meditation and studying the scripture. Developing spiritual sensitivity allows us to discern God's voice and guidance in our lives.

The book of Obadiah is based on a prophetic vision concerning the fall of Edom , a nation whose father was Esau and the divine restoration upon Israel. The message of Obadiah is that despite Israel's sin, God will judge those who conflict his people who will then be an everlasting blessing to the world. It ends by speaking of the ' day of the lord' when the nations will be defeated, Israel will be destroyed and the kingdom shall be of the lord's. 

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