The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 29 – Obadiah
COPYRIGHT, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
* KEY VERSE–Ob 8.
* KEY PHRASE–“THE HATEFULNESS OF A COMMENDATION.”
The events of this prophecy probably happened at the time of the capture of Jerusalem. Read about them as follows:–
* Sunday–First Deportation of Babylon,–2Ki 24:11-16.
* Monday–Final Deportation of Jews,–2Ki 25:1-7.
* Tuesday–Jerusalem Destroyed,–2Ki 25:8-13.
* Wednesday–Edom Shall be Brought Low,–Ob 1-9.
* Thursday–Edom’s Spiteful Behaviour Shall Be Avenged,–Obadiah 1:10-14.
* Friday–Guilt of Heathen Nations,–Ob 15-16.
* Saturday–Deliverance from Captivity and Messianic Kingdom,–Ob 17-21.
WRITER--Nothing is known of the personal history of Obadiah except that he lived in the kingdom of Judah. His name means “Servant of Jehovah.” This is the shortest book in the Old Testament.
TIME OF OBADIAH–Most scholars think that Obadiah wrote shortly after the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, about B. C. 587. The cause of the prophecy was Edom’s shameful rejoicing over the capture and ruin of Jerusalem. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob, and were always unfriendly to God’s covenant people, Israel. They refused to allow Israel to pass through their land on the way to Canaan. Saul, David, and Solomon found them to be bitter enemies and kept them under stern measures. They often allied themselves with Israel’s foes, and when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, they gladly joined the invaders, helped to plunder the city and cut off stragglers who tried to escape. This hostile attitude towards God’s people brought down upon Edom the severe condemnation of the prophet. Obadiah lived at the same time as did Jeremiah.
PURPOSE–To prophesy the downfall of Edom because of her hatefulness and pride, and rise up again of Israel from her captivity.
Great Fact I. Downfall of Edom
Edom thinks herself secure in her mountain strongholds, but though she exalts herself as the eagle, and set her nest among the stars, the Lord will bring her clown and make her small among the heathens, Obadiah 1:1-4. Robbers might cease when they had stolen enough, and grape gatherers might leave some gleanings, but not so the avengers of Edom, she shall be spoiled to the depths of her hidden treasures, Obadiah 1:5-6. Her allies shall deceive her, and spread a net that she will not see, and her wisdom and power shall be of no avail, Ob 7-9.
LESSON–The particular fault with which Edom is charged is pride. “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee.” Edom built among the stars, but God brought her down to the ground.
Nothing so much offends God as pride, haughtiness, and presumption, and when men display these, they may expect to, be abased to the very dust until they have learned humility under His correcting hand.
There never was an angel who had pride in his heart, but he lost his wings as did Satan and his fallen angels, and there will never be a man full of conceit and self-confidence but the Lord will spoil his glories and trample his vain hopes in the dust. Luther used to say, “Do let God be God.” Do not say “I and God,” but “God and I.” God first and I second. God to lead and I to follow, God to rule and I to obey. Do let God be God!
Great Fact II. The Cause of Edom’s Down-fall
The overthrow of Edom is due to the violence and cruelty showed to God’s people at the time of the capture of Jerusalem. Edom and Israel had descended from brothers. Esau and Jacob, they were, therefore, cousin nations, yet when foreign invaders were dividing by lot the spoils and captives of Jerusalem, Edom maliciously rejoiced at Israel’s misfortune, they actively shared in spoiling Israel, and stood at the crossroads to cut off the escape of the Jews and delivered them up, to the Babylonians. The prophet therefore proclaims that in the Day of the Lord, Edom and all the enemies of Israel shall suffer just retribution, meeting with the fact which they had inflicted on others.
LESSON–The story of Edom is a severe rebuke to the unbrotherliness, she was full of malice, hatred and envy, and committed one unbrotherly act after another. Men who are brothers by blood ties, or are Christian brothers through the blood of Jesus Christ, should live as brothers. There is no room in families or in churches for the unsympathetic unloving elder brothers, we ought so to love one another that we do not hate or persecute our brokers, we ought so to love one another as God bath loved us, 1Jo 4:11. There is a debt of mercy, pity, charity, com- passion and succour that one man owes another. If we refuse to pay it in time of our abundance, we may justly expect to be denied us in the time of our want.
Frequently at the great Roman games, the emperors, in order to gratify the citizens, caused sweet perfumes to be rained down upon them through the awnings which covered the amphitheatre. The huge vases of perfume did not refresh, delight and gratify the people until they were unsealed, opened and poured out. So each Christian heart is a potential vase of perfumed, loving kindness. Like our Older Brother Christ we were born to sympathize. Then let us constantly pour forth love’s divine perfume, not only upon our brothers in the flesh and brothers in the faith, but upon the poor, the tempted and the sorrowful.
Great Fact III. The Triumph of Israel
Edom was conquered by her enemies in 300 B. C., and has disappeared from history, but for the house of Jacob, there shall be deliverance from captivity. Jerusalem shall be a safe refuge, the borders of her land shall be extended while judgement shall come upon the nations, and the Lord’s kingdom shall be set up. The fulfilment of this is yet future. We rejoice in the spiritual kingdom within us, but for the literal and complete fulfilment, we still pray “Thy kingdom come!”
LESSON–There is a significant promise in Ob 17: “The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” The perpetual possession of the Holy Land is promised them by all the prophets, and God will make the pledge good. The promise applies to the Christian also. He shall possess his possessions, and the word possessions here is a rare one in the original. A rare word is used to describe rare possessions. The possessions of the people of God are rare and precious. In 2 Corinthians 6:10; Paul speaks of the believers “as possessing all things.’ This reminds us that a man’s real wealth is not anything outside, but is in himself. A Christian is the heir of the des if his mind is enriched with the highest knowledge and purest truth, If his heart is inspired with a goodness that responds to all that is noble and God-like and beats all the sweet, brave impulses of prayer, devotion and love.
A gentleman once took a friend to the top of his mansion to show him the extent of his possessions. Pointing to a great distance on one side, he said: “Do you see that far-extending farm?” “Yes.” “Well, that is mine.” Pointing to the other side: “Do you see yonder stores and the big bank? Well, they are mine!” Pointing again to another side: “Do you see the village yonder? Well, all that is mine!” Said the friend: “I know a woman in that village who is richer than you.” “How can that be?” asked the rich man. Said the friend: “She is far richer than you. She can say Christ is mine!’ She sings:”
The treasures of earth are not mine, I own not its silver nor gold, But a treasure far greater is mine, I have riches of value untold! Far better than gold or wealth untold, Are the riches of love in Christ Jesus.
“One’s own” what a charm there is in the words! How long before everyone of us will be able to say, “Christ, salvation, peace, the promises, Heaven-are all my own!”
Questions on the Lesson
1. Give the key word and key verse.
2. Who wrote the book?
3. What does Obadiah’s name mean?
4. Which is the shortest book in the Old Testament?
5. Tell of the times of Obadiah.
6. Who were the Edomites?
7. What other prophet lived at this time?
8. What the purpose of the book?
9. Give the great facts.
10. Have you read Obadiah?
11. Where was Edom located?
12. What her particular fault?
13. What does God do to the proud?
14. Why did Satan and his angels fall?
15. What did Luther say?
16. What the cause of Edom’s downfall?
17. To what is the story of Edom a severe rebuke?
18. What debt do we owe one another?
19. Tell about the perfumes at the Roman games.
20. Contrast Edom’s end with Israel’s promise.
21. What did the prophet promise?
22. How can we be heirs of the ages?
23. Tell of the woman who was rich, indeed, and what she sang.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8 KJV