Obadiah was a prophet who lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. What is interesting about the book is that the focus is the little nation of Edom. This was a neighboring nation to Israel. Edom was more than that! You see, the feud between Edom and Israel went all the way back to Jacob and Esau. Tradition holds that the Edomites were descendants of Esau. The nation of Israel came from Jacob’s line. Esau was Jacob’s twin brother. Esau was the first-born. As such, he had the rights of the first-born, being the one to receive the promise of the Savior passed down to him and his descendants. The problem was that Esau despised his birth right and didn’t care about the promises of God. This ended poorly when Jacob compounded the issue by taking the birthright that his brother never wanted. Esau was enraged and Jacob has to flee for his life!
Fast forward to the days of the Babylonians knocking on Israel’s door and the hostilities weren’t any better. In fact as we read Obadiah we find that Edom HELPED the nations sack Jerusalem. They cut down those fleeing for their lives. They turned over captive Israelites to their enemies. A good neighbor might be called upon for a cup of sugar or milk for a recipe. Edom was nothing like a good neighbor!
Obadiah’s prophecy calls for the destruction of this nation. Edom had thought there was no nation who could take them! They were off the beaten path compared to Israel. Edom was a nation in the mountains, full of caves and easily defensible. None of that matters to the Almighty as he decrees the destruction of a nation who was not a good neighbor.
The class ended with a discussion of what it means to be a good neighbor. How do you handle the child at school who is always mean to you? What do you do when your next door neighbor is a monster? God is clear in his charge to turn the other cheek and to show love to our enemies, but these can still be difficult situations.
Want to hear more? Watch this Sunday’s Bible class taken from our series: Minor Prophets: Major Messages – Obadiah.
Please click HERE for the Bible class slides.