Bible Teaching Notes
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Omar C. Garcia

Obadiah

Notes by Jerry Perrill, Missionary to Laos and Thailand (Retired)


God is concerned with the way people live and relate to other people. Judgment is never very far away in the Minor Prophets, but then, neither is the hope of redemption. I think we must honestly face the coming judgment as well as rejoice in the grace-given, blood-bought redemption which has been the purpose of God since the first promise of salvation (found in Gen 3:15).

Obadiah means ‘servant of Yahweh’. There were some 15 or 16 people in the Old Testament named Obadiah and we really can’t tell if one of those named was the author of this short book. And, like Joel, we can’t really be sure when he lived and the situation against which he spoke. It was sometime after a disastrous defeat of Jerusalem and Judah, perhaps from the hands of Babylon(?)
 
At any rate, God calls the nation of Edom (descendants of Esau, see Gen. 25:19f) to account for their sin. But first a question:
Which of the two persons would you be less likely to associate with?
            (1) A person who is basically good but is a thief.
            (2) A person who is basically good but is proud.
 
I suspect most of us would answer the first because the second doesn’t even fit into our usual list of sins. However, the initial complaint of the Lord GOD is in verse 3: “Your presumptuous heart has deceived you, . .” or as the KJV puts it, the “pride of thine heart hath deceived thee.” 
 
Do we really acknowledge the sinfulness of pride? The Bible has pretty strong words for it. For instance, of the seven things which the Lord hates (Prov. 6:16-19), “a haughty look” heads up the list! Eve fell to pride when she, among other motives, saw the fruit of the forbidden tree as something that would make her wise (or as the serpent suggested, ‘like God’). Isaiah in 2:9–17 says that the ‘day of the Lord’ is bringing judgment on all the arrogant, the proud, the self-exalted. 1 John sums up the sinful ways of the world as (1) cravings (2) lustful eyes and (3) the pride of life. These same three are the heart of Satan’s sinful suggestions in his temptation of Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11). Jesus, who had every rightful reason to be proud, refused Satan’s offer.
 
Maybe, at this point we need to identify the difference between rightful pride and sinful pride!
 
Some might object, we need pride or we won’t even have self-respect. I certainly agree on the need for self-respect, but think it should not be self-generated, but built on who God is and what He has done for us! Pride and arrogance are the beginning of turning inward to the self, and that is what God puts high on the list of things He hates.
 
Obadiah’s whole message is right there. How does pride often express itself? (Read Psalm 10:1-11). Pride in what one has materially or geographically (verses 3-7), what is our boast of how great my state is?; smugness and laughter at the calamity of others (10-12); profiting from the defeat of others (13-14). I saw this in the news as people were rather smugly looking at Paris Hilton as she went to jail. I agree that she is getting what she deserves, but that must not cause even the slightest hint of a smug or joyful attitude on my part.
 
Here we have the warning that the day of the Lord is coming and will bring thorough and complete judgment for the nations (all unbelievers) and salvation for Israel (all believers). And the kingdom will be the Lord’s, or as Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come . . .”
 
Let us not protect our pride and arrogance but confess that we are and have nothing apart from our God in and through the cross and by the influencing power of the Holy Spirit.
 
This is the message of Obadiah to us.

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