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Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom:...”Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, And though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,” says the LORD. (1:1-4)

“For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side—In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, When foreigners entered his gates And cast lots for Jerusalem— Even you were as one of them. “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother In the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah In the day of their destruction; Nor should you have spoken proudly In the day of distress.” (1:10-12)

“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.” (1:15)

“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, And there shall be holiness; The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” (1:17)

The above scriptures are from the book of Obadiah, NKJV.

There are a number of people in the Old Testament named Obadiah. Little is known of the author of this little prophecy, the shortest of the minor prophets. The book was likely written near or just after the Babylonian captivity, making Obadiah a contemporary of Jeremiah and/or Ezekiel.

The thrust of his prophecy is against the nation of Edom, kinsmen to Israel but enemies. The

Edomites had descended from Esau, as the Israelites had from his brother Jacob. As there

had been trouble between the brothers, so had there been between their descendant nations. “The land of Edom was a narrow strip of territory south of the Dead Sea. The

region is rugged, mountainous, and naturally isolated from surrounding areas” (Christian

Courier). Edom was wealthy and arrogant at this time, feeling totally secure in their wilderness fortress.

From the book, we learn that when Babylon raised Jerusalem, Edom cheered them on. Edom swooped in and gathered up what they could. They attacked the Israelites who were fleeing from the destruction. Instead of helping their kinsman, they took advantage of the situation to enrich themselves and abuse them. But God takes note of all that is done on His

earth. Edom boasted, “Who will bring me down?” God answered their boast: “I will bring you down.” And so He did; the Edomites are no more, remembered only in the Scriptures.

God speaks against not just Edom but all nations. The Day of the Lord will come upon all nations and all peoples—including ours. As we have done, so shall it be done unto us. Though the prophecy is about Edom, it illustrates the timeless principles upon which God judges the world. Pride goes before the fall—for individuals, families, and nations. It is the most difficult sin to deal with; in my mind, it is the genesis of all other sins. By it Satan fell.

Today is June 30, and much of the Western world is wrapping up Pride Month. I cannot think of a better description. Nevertheless, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Then, too, individuals and nations are to do good as we have opportunity...rather than take advantage of others or of calamitous situations to enrich themselves. We are not to rejoice over the hardship of others nor even glory in judgment when it comes. And as we have done, so it will be done to us (Matthew 7:2, Galatians 6:7, James 2:13).

When I read the book, I fear for our own nation. The best thing we can do for it is pray and be light and salt. Perhaps God’s servants may yet preserve it. But whatever comes, let us trust in our God and hold to His Unchanging Hand.

—John Ostic

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