Obadiah, an Old Testament Prophet, lived during the time of the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. According to Jewish historians, Obadiah tended the stables of King Ahab. Because of his reverence for God and respect for the prophet Elijah, he hid and fed 100 prophets of God in two caves from Jezebel’s slaughter of God’s prophets. Obadiah, a native of Edom, a convert to Judaism, a follower of the ministry of Elijah, was a worshiper of the LORD.
In his book that bears his name, Obadiah knew the prideful behaviors of his native country, Edom. Edom was a neighboring nation to Israel, whose citizens were distant cousins to the citizens of Israel. The following were some of the warnings given to Edom for their arrogant behaviors.
First, Obadiah warned Edom of revenge. Whenever Israel or Jerusalem was attacked, the citizens of Edom cheered and refused to help their neighbors. They even prevented the Israelis from fleeing to safety. They plundered the houses and shops in Israel while the Jews were running to safety in caves or mountains and then the men of Edom bragged about their loot.
Next, Obadiah warned Edom about their pride. They bragged about NOT having a relationship with God. They boasted about being their own strength; they did not need the help of God. Their security was their own merit. Their military power was in their own making.
Also, they considered themselves too wise to need the wisdom from God. They knew how to handle aggressive neighbors without needing any help from God. After all, their territory was full of rocky caves, high mountains, and desert terrain that became a natural protection against warring neighbors. However, their pride against God had reached full capacity.
By closely studying the book, one can learn the following life principles:
First, one will never succeed in life when a grudge is nurtured against someone else. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 12:19, wrote, “It is mine to avenge, I will repay,” God said. God’s intent for His children is to live a life of forgiveness. Forgiveness will help to keep a clean heart and will produce peace in one’s spirit.
Second, one must not take delight in the troubles and trials that are happening to another person. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” We could also weep with those who are weeping due to sufferings or trials. In essence, we are to treat others as fellow human beings. Jesus also gave the example of treating fellow human beings as we would like fellow human beings to treat us.
Last, we are not to develop a proud heart, becoming so arrogant that in the words of Obadiah, “we build our nest among the stars.” This will produce an attitude of self-righteousness which will lead to a lifestyle of judgmental behaviors.
In the closing verse of the Book of Obadiah a prophecy about Mount Zion was given, which became more of a promise to Israel. The very last phrase read, “And the kingdom will be the LORD’s.” This phrase was also written by the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.”
The Lord continues to remind us in His Word that He is in control of earthly affairs. Wars may still exist, but wars will come to an end. Just as the nation of Edom continued in its pride and cruel treatment of Israel, Edom itself was plundered by another nation and had its citizens scattered throughout the region.
God knows how to care for His own children. Although trials and sufferings do come to all, God knows how to vindicate. Even though much of life is hard to understand, God does care for His children. God is a sovereign God.
The Rev. Kitty Mills teaches Sunday School at Mount View Pentecostal Holiness Church in Claudville, Virginia.