How do you feel when you receive bad news? Anxious? Fearful? Uncomfortable? In the book of Obadiah, God’s prophet had the task not of receiving but of delivering bad news. Obadiah delivered a message Edom was not expecting to receive—the bad news of judgment and destruction from the LORD Himself.
Edom’s roots can be traced back to its patriarch, Esau (Genesis 25:19-28:7; 32:1-19), the brother of Israel (also known as Jacob – Genesis 32:28). These brothers had a troublesome relationship marked with deceit and hatred. Though they reconciled prior to their father’s death (Genesis 32:1-19), this history may explain Edom’s attitude in not allowing access to its territory when Israel requested passage to the land of Canaan, Israel’s promised land (Numbers 20:14-20).
Edom was a very proud nation. It boasted of its having an invincible fortress that provided protection and security (Obadiah 1:3-4) and of human wisdom (1:8). It also gloated over the misfortune of the Israelites, specifically the kingdom of Judah (1:12-14).
GOD is clear with His attitude towards the proud (Proverbs 15:25; 16:18; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). Therefore, the sins of Edom were not overlooked nor condoned by the LORD, so they became subject to His righteous judgment (1:15). The LORD through Obadiah declared that “[a]s you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head” (Obadiah 1:15).
Many centuries later, the LORD Jesus Christ taught this same principle when He said, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31). Paul echoed this same truth in his letter to the Galatian believers saying, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). This truth was a lesson Edom never learned. The nation of Edom does not exist today, a testament of GOD fulfilling His word.