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Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 23, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words

The Book

The book of Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament at 21 verses.

It is not quoted in the New Testament.

The Prophet

Obadiah – “servant of Yahewh

There are about a dozen “Obadiahs” in the Old Testament.  It’s a fairly common name.

We actually don’t know much about this fellow, other than the writing he left behind.

The People

The book is addressed to the people of Edom, the ancestors of Jacob’s twin brother Esau.

Though the Edomites were “brothers” to Israel, they were often at odds with them.

The Edomites lived in the land southeast of Israel.

While Israel eventually settled in the land of Canaan after having been slaves in Egypt, the Edomites had settled in the land southeast of Israel since the times of their ancestor Esau.

Play Israel and Edom map clip

The land of Edom lies within modern Jordan, southeast of Israel. It is a mountainous desert land.
The ancient capital was Bozrah.
One of the most famous places is the ancient city of Petra, made famous by …
Play Indiana Jones – Petra clip

The Times

There is no clear indicator as to when the book was written.

The book describes the behavior of the Edomites during an invasion of Jerusalem.

There were four such invasions of Jerusalem, but the scenario that seems to fit the book was when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC.

When the Babylonians were conquering Judah, the people of Edom stood on the sidelines and cheered for the Babylonians.

They gloated over the destruction of Jerusalem.
(Psalm 137:7 NKJV) Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, “Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!”

After the Babylonians wiped out the southern kingdom of Judah, the Nabateans from northern Arabia would come into the land of Edom and pushed out most of the Edomites.

The Nabateans were the great stone carvers of Petra.
Most of the Edomites moved into southern Judea where they became known as Idumeans.  Herod the Great, king of Judea was an Idumean (Edomite).
The Idumeans revolted against Rome with the Jews in AD 70, were obliterated by the Romans, and then faded into history.

1:1-9 Judgment coming to Edom

:1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom (We have heard a report from the Lord, And a messenger has been sent among the nations, saying, “Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle”):

:1 let us rise up against her for battle

In Obadiah’s vision, a messenger from God is sent to the nations to tell them to fight against Edom.

Through history, God would use the Nabateans, the Jews (during the Maccabean times), and the Romans to fight against Edom.

:2 “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised.

:3 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?’

:4 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.

:3 who dwell in the clefts of the rock

The Edomites felt safe in the natural protection of the steep canyons and mountains around them.  There were all sorts of places to hide and defend themselves against attackers.

:3 The pride of your heart has deceived you


Pride’s Deception

Our pride keeps us from seeing things as they truly are.
Think of the children’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” where the emperor is tricked by a man pretending to be a tailor into thinking he is wearing the finest clothes ever made when in fact he is naked.

His own pride, wanting to show everyone that he was the smartest emperor that ever was, kept him from acknowledging that his new tailor’s “magic clothes” weren’t just invisible to stupid people, they were non-existent.

Jesus wrote a letter to the church of Laodicea,
(Revelation 3:15–18 NKJV) —15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

The Laodiceans thought that they were important people because of their wealth, when in fact they were very poor in God’s sight.

Pride keeps us from thinking we need anything.

In truth, we are quite needy.  We need God.


When Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency, by the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn (the Speaker of the House) took him aside. “From here on out, you’re going to have lots of people around you. They’ll try to put up a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They’ll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you ain’t.”

C. S. Lewis called pride “spiritual cancer,” which eats up love and contentment. It is actually a sign of our own insecurity and feelings of inferiority.
Pride keeps my focus on “me”, and guarantees to make me miserable.

How to Be Perfectly Miserable.

Think about yourself.

Talk about yourself.

Use the personal pronoun "I" as often as possible in your conversation.

Expect to be appreciated.

Never forget a criticism.


Trust nobody but yourself.

Insist on consideration and respect.

Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them.

Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others.

Listen greedily to what people say about you.

Demand agreement with your own views on everything.

Never forget a service you may have rendered.

Be suspicious.

Be sensitive to slights.

Be jealous and envious.

Paul taught,
(Philippians 2:3–4 NKJV) —3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Fulfillment doesn’t come from focusing on your own needs.  It comes by meeting others’ needs.

In contrast,
(Matthew 16:24 NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

:4 I will bring you down

If you continue to walk in pride, you are heading for a fall.

Solomon wrote,
(Proverbs 16:18 NKJV) Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 29:23 NKJV) —23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
Jesus said,
(Luke 14:7–11 NKJV) —7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

:5 “If thieves had come to you, If robbers by night— Oh, how you will be cut off!— Would they not have stolen till they had enough? If grape-gatherers had come to you, Would they not have left some gleanings?

:5 Would they not have left some gleanings?

Normal thieves just take what they’re looking for and leave some things behind.

Grape harvesters don’t pick all the grapes but leave some for the poor, the “gleanings”.

But in contrast, Edom will be wiped clean.

There are more than a few parallels between the book of Obadiah and one of Jeremiah’s prophecies, we believe written around the same time:

Compare verse 3 with:
(Jeremiah 49:16 NKJV) —16 Your fierceness has deceived you, The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,” says the Lord.
Compare verse 5 with:
(Jeremiah 49:9 NKJV) —9 If grape-gatherers came to you, Would they not leave some gleaning grapes? If thieves by night, Would they not destroy until they have enough?
Some have suggested that Jeremiah might have been familiar with the prophecy of Obadiah.
(Je 49:7–22 NKJV) —7 Against Edom. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished? 8 Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, The time that I will punish him. 9 If grape-gatherers came to you, Would they not leave some gleaning grapes? If thieves by night, Would they not destroy until they have enough? 10 But I have made Esau bare; I have uncovered his secret places, And he shall not be able to hide himself. His descendants are plundered, His brethren and his neighbors, And he is no more. 11 Leave your fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; And let your widows trust in Me.” 12 For thus says the Lord: “Behold, those whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunk. And are you the one who will altogether go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink of it. 13 For I have sworn by Myself,” says the Lord, “that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse. And all its cities shall be perpetual wastes.” 14 I have heard a message from the Lord, And an ambassador has been sent to the nations: “Gather together, come against her, And rise up to battle! 15 “For indeed, I will make you small among nations, Despised among men. 16 Your fierceness has deceived you, The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,” says the Lord. 17 “Edom also shall be an astonishment; Everyone who goes by it will be astonished And will hiss at all its plagues. 18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah And their neighbors,” says the Lord, “No one shall remain there, Nor shall a son of man dwell in it. 19 “Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the floodplain of the Jordan Against the dwelling place of the strong; But I will suddenly make him run away from her. And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? For who is like Me? Who will arraign Me? And who is that shepherd Who will withstand Me?” 20 Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord that He has taken against Edom, And His purposes that He has proposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out; Surely He shall make their dwelling places desolate with them. 21 The earth shakes at the noise of their fall; At the cry its noise is heard at the Red Sea. 22 Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, And spread His wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.

:6 “Oh, how Esau shall be searched out! How his hidden treasures shall be sought after!

:7 All the men in your confederacy Shall force you to the border; The men at peace with you Shall deceive you and prevail against you. Those who eat your bread shall lay a trap for you. No one is aware of it.

:7 All the men in your confederacy

Edom had alliances with other countries, but these allies would turn on Edom.

Their downfall wouldn’t be from an outright enemy, but from someone they trusted.

When the Nabateans first showed up, the Edomites invited them to a banquet.  In the end, the Nabateans turned on them and pushed them out of their own land.

:8 “Will I not in that day,” says the Lord, “Even destroy the wise men from Edom, And understanding from the mountains of Esau?

:8 destroy the wise men

Edom had a reputation for having some pretty wise fellows.

Some believe that the oldest book to have been written in the Bible was written by an Edomite – Job.

We believe that the events of the ancient book of Job took place among the Edomites.

Job himself is thought to be in the genealogy of Esau as one of its “kings” (Gen. 36:31-34) where he is listed as “Jobab”.
(Genesis 36:31–34 NKJV) —31 Now these were the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the children of Israel: 32 Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 And when Bela died, Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place. 34 When Jobab died, Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place.
Job’s friend Eliphaz may have been the son of Esau (Gen. 36:10)
(Genesis 36:10 NKJV) —10 These were the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, and Reuel the son of Basemath the wife of Esau.
At one point Job gets sarcastic with his “friends” because they seem to think that they know so much.
(Job 12:2 NKJV) “No doubt you are the people, And wisdom will die with you!

The judgment on Edom includes the loss of wisdom.


Losing your wisdom

We could probably trace Edom’s loss of wisdom (and wise men) back to its pride.
Paul also shows us how man can lose his wisdom.
(Romans 1:18–25 NKJV) —18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

Play Values – Beautiful World clip

No matter how much people argue, to me it seems quite obvious that there is a God. Just open your eyes and look around you.

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Paul goes on to talk about the moral depravity that man falls into when he loses his moral compass – the truth that there is a Creator who has made us.

“Professing to be wise, they became fools”

When you lose sight of God, you lose wisdom.

There is a connection between knowing God and having true wisdom.
Job himself wrote,

(Job 28:28 NKJV) …‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’

Wisdom starts when we get things straightened out with God.
Got questions?  Are you looking for answers? Are you looking for wisdom? 
Make sure you have things right with God.
Then just ask:

(James 1:5 NKJV) —5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

:9 Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, To the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau May be cut off by slaughter.

:9 Teman

Teman was one of the chief cities of the Edomites, also the home of Job’s friend Eliphaz.

1:10-14 Edom’s sin

:10 “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever.

:10 against your brother

Jacob and Esau were twins. Esau fathered the Edomites, Jacob fathered the Israelites.

You ought to be nice to a brother. Before going into the Promised Land, Israel was commanded:
(Deuteronomy 23:7 NKJV) “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother…

But the Edomites didn’t return the favor.

:11 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.

:12 “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.

:12 spoken proudly – literally “make your mouth large”.  Talking big.

:13 You should not have entered the gate of My people In the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction In the day of their calamity, Nor laid hands on their substance In the day of their calamity.

The Edomites enjoyed watching Jerusalem fall to the Babylonians.

:14 You should not have stood at the crossroads To cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.

:12 rejoiced over … their destruction


When Enemies Fall

To be honest, sometimes when we have a victory over our enemies, we’d like to do a little victory dance…
Play Top NFL Dance Moves
God cares how we react when our “enemy” falls.
Don’t think of this “enemy” as Satan, but the humans around us that cause us trouble.
We all have “enemies” to one degree or another.
(Proverbs 24:17–18 NKJV) —17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.
What if your “enemy” has something going on in their life that you just aren’t aware of?  What if you don’t know what’s going on in their head?
Play Carly’s Café video clip.
Thomas Merton writes,

Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy.  Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage.  Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels you are afraid of him.  And perhaps if he believed you were capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.

Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is an enemy of God just because he is your enemy.  Perhaps he is your enemy precisely because he can find nothing in you that gives glory to God. Perhaps he fears you because he can find nothing in you of God's love and God's kindness and God's patience and mercy and understanding of the weakness of men.

Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God.  For it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and sensuality and selfishness that have killed his faith.

Jesus said,
(Matthew 5:43–44 NKJV) —43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

1:15-16 The Judgment

:15 “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.

:15 the day of the Lord

We’ve seen this phrase in Joel (4x) and Amos (3x).

It speaks of a day of God’s judgment and is used for various times of judgment on the nations.

There is an ultimate “day of the Lord” when Jesus returns and judges the world.

:16 For as you drank on My holy mountain, So shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, And they shall be as though they had never been.

The Edomites will be swallowed up just like they swallowed up others.

:16 as you drank …

(Obadiah 16 NLT) Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history.

1:17-21 Coming Kingdom

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

:17 there shall be holiness

:18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” For the Lord has spoken.

:18 fire … stubble

The Israelis will be the fire, while the Edomites will be the fuel.  They will burn them up.

(Zechariah 12:6 NKJV) —6 In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.

:19 The South shall possess the mountains of Esau, And the Lowland shall possess Philistia. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim And the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

:20 And the captives of this host of the children of Israel Shall possess the land of the Canaanites As far as Zarephath. The captives of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad Shall possess the cities of the South.

:19 The South shall possess … Esau

When God fully restores Israel, these will be what some of their borders will look like.  They are not quite there yet.

Play Israel Today and Tomorrow map clip

What it all boils down to is that Israel will not only possess the land they have now, but their borders will stretch into modern Lebanon to the north, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories.

Southern Israel will be ruling over the land of Edom.

:19 the Lowland shall possess Philistia

The “Lowland” or “shephelah (Hebrew) is the lowlands west of the Judean mountains that runs along the coast of Israel.

:19 Lowlandshephelah – lowland, valley; strip west of Judean mountains (technical term)

Most of this area is under the control of Israel with the exception of Gaza, which is under Palestinian control.

:19 Ephraim … the fields of Samaria

This is the central part of Israel.

Much of this land is currently part of the “West Bank”, under Palestinian control.

:19 Benjamin shall possess Gilead

Gilead is the area east of the Galilee.

Parts of this area are in the Golan Heights (Israel), disputed territory.  Part is in Syria, part in Jordan.

:20 as far as Zarephath

Elijah lived with a widow woman in Zarephath (1Ki. 17)

When the woman’s son died, Elijah raised him from the dead.
(1 Kings 17:22 NKJV) —22 Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.

Zarephath is located in modern Lebanon, between the ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon.

:20 Sepharad – “separated”

We don’t know specifically what location Obadiah is referring to.

But … dating back to the times of Rome, Jews who live in Spain are called “Sephardi Jews”, the word coming from our word here.

Others have linked the word to the city of Sardis (Modern Turkey), or the city of Hesperides in Libya.

Perhaps the idea is that the Jews who had been living in one of these places will possess the cities in southern Israel.

:21 Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion To judge the mountains of Esau, And the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

:21 saviors shall come to Mount Zion

saviorsyasha– to save, be saved, be delivered

Governors from all these places (including Edom) will rule from Jerusalem.

:21 the kingdom shall be the Lord’s

Ultimately, the kingdom will belong to Jesus.

:15 As you have done


Sowing and Reaping

The Edomites got what they gave.
This is a standard of how God will judge people:
(Revelation 16:4–7 NKJV) —4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” 7 And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
Jesus said,
(Matthew 7:1–2 NKJV) —1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

The way you judge others is how God will judge you.

The Buddhists have this thing called “karma”.  It’s your good intents and good deeds that magically contribute to a good future.  And your bad deeds contribute to a bad future.
There is some truth to this, except there’s nothing magical or impersonal about it at all.  God is behind it.
Paul makes is simple.  He wrote,
(Galatians 6:7–9 NKJV) —7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
What kind of seeds are you sowing out in the world?
If you are doing things that will feed your sin nature (your flesh), you can expect a heap of trouble.
If you do things that will invest in the Spirit, you will find everlasting life.

It starts by admitting you are a sinner and opening up your heart to trust in Jesus.

It continues by doing good things.

Good things for yourself like reading the Bible, praying, and going to church.

Good things for others like serving them.

What do you expect to harvest from the seeds you’ve sown?
The Edomites had sown bad seeds – seeds that brought corruption – being cruel to their neighbors and rejoicing when they fell.
You don’t have to sow those kinds of seeds.
You can sow seeds that will produce eternal life.
Jesus said,
(Luke 6:31 NKJV) —31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

This even works in our own relationships


Dale Carnegie once said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one."

G.K. Chesterton used to say, "The truly great person is the one who makes every person feel great."

The following illustration reveals the accuracy of the above listed statements.

In Queen Victoria's time, a young woman had the good fortune of being escorted to dinner by William E. Gladstone, who was considered one of the most brilliant statesmen of the 19th century.  On the following evening, the same young lady was escorted by Benjamin Disraeli, novelist, statesman and twice prime minister of Great Britain.

When asked for her impression of these two great rivals, she replied, "After an evening with Gladstone, I thought he was the most brilliant man I'd ever met.  After an evening with Disraeli, I thought myself to be the most fascinating woman in the world!"

(Proverbs 18:24 NKJV) —24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.