PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTIONThe shortest book in the Old Testament, the prophesy of Obadiah is directed not to Israel but to Edom, the descendants of Esau, who were long-standing enemies of Israel. Though distant relatives of the Israelites, the people of Edom take every opportunity to inflict pain and suffering on God’s children. Obadiah condemns their treachery and declares God’s intent to wipe Edom, who has been gloating over Jerusalem’s devastation at the hands of the Babylonian army, off the map. While mist of the other prophetic books in the Old Testament offer a word of hope or the promise of eventual restoration, Obadiah’s words pronounce only judgment and God’s pledge to humble this proud, deceitful nation.
Though short on words, Obadiah is long on meaning. Woven throughout these few verses are reminders that proud hearts that thrive on self centeredness will reap the bitter fruit of judgment (Ob 2-7). We hear the ringing condemnation and promise of failure for those who find pleasure in someone else’s tragedy (Ob 10-14). And the certainty of destruction is revealed for those who hold grudges or take revenge on others (Ob 15-17). Obadiah resoundingly proclaims that no situation, nation or circumstance can be truly secure unless God is in the center of it, for justice ultimately belongs to him.