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Trevor Stewart-Sweet on the Book of Obadiah

SHORT TALK

But Obadiah speaks of Esau and Edom not the Palestinians. So, is there any connection?

“Will I not in that day,” says the Lord,
“Even destroy the wise men from Edom,
And understanding from the mountains of Esau?
Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed,
To the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau
May be cut off by slaughter.

10 “For violence חָמָס [ḥāmās] against your brother Jacob,
Shame shall cover you,
And you shall be cut off forever.
11 In the day that you stood on the other side—
In the day that strangers carried captive his forces,
When foreigners entered his gates
And cast lots for Jerusalem—
Even you were as one of them.

12 “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother
In the day of his captivity;
Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah
In the day of their destruction;
Nor should you have spoken proudly
In the day of distress.
13 You should not have entered the gate of My people
In the day of their calamity.
Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction
In the day of their calamity,
Nor laid hands on their substance
In the day of their calamity.
14 You should not have stood at the crossroads
To cut off those among them who escaped;
Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained
In the day of distress.

Obadiah 1.8-16

A Jewish source makes this comment – I get some information from a Jewish source: TheIsraelBible.com, and some of it is quite helpful and interesting. One of the authors on that site wrote this:

Since Jews began returning to the land of Israel in the late 19th century, they have faced no shortage of enemies. Surrounded by hostile nations, Israel has overcome many powerful and frightening foes yet the one enemy that Israel has not yet found a way to overcome is perhaps the least likely of all: the Palestinians. But the very name ‘Palestinians’ is misleading, for the modern day Palestinians do not descend from and bear no relation to the ancient Philistines who dwelt in Israel or along Israel’s coast in biblical times.

Fight Like David: Thoughts on War – The Israel Bible

Nevertheless, the writer adds:

Today’s Palestinians share something in common with the Philistines of old, for the Philistines of the biblical era were also the Jewish people’s most persistent and difficult adversary.

Fight Like David: Thoughts on War – The Israel Bible

It’s an interesting parallel that he draws. I just need to make a a small statement here because Israel is very clear that her battle is not against the Palestinian people, it’s against Hamas. And, in any group of people there are going to be innocent people and guilty people. Many people have lost their lives in this conflict, and any loss of innocent lives is to be regretted whether it be Palestinian or Israeli.

Israel holds life as one of their highest moral ideals and we need to remember that Israel does not glorify death but life. We are talking here of those who perpetrated violence both in what I’ve just said (Oct 7) but also in Obadiah’s time.

For example, we can see in the scriptures that those who perpetrate violence will pay a very high price. Psalm 11.5-6 says:

The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Upon the wicked He will rain coals;
Fire and brimstone and a burning wind
Shall be the portion of their cup.

Psalm 11.5-6

That God hates violence is a certainty and in Hebrews 10.31 we read that

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hebrews 10.31

But let us return to our text. The root cause of Edom’s ‘hamas’, her violence חָמָס [ḥāmās] was pride, and the belief that they could live without God. Pride, or at least the wrong sort of pride, is one of the most dangerous emotions that we can have.

Remember how we said earlier that pride was also arrogance, and conceit, self-importance or the feeling of superiority? There is an interesting verse related to what we’ve just read there in Obadiah 1.

Psalm 73 verse 6 says this speaking of the wicked

Therefore pride serves as their necklace [chain];
Violence חָמָס [ḥāmās] covers them like a garment.

Psalm 73.6

In Psalm 73 verse 6, the psalmist links pride with violence. Spurgeon writes of this particular verse in the Psalms:

Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain.” They are as great in their own esteem as if they were aldermen of the New Jerusalem; they want no other ornament than their own pomposity. No jeweller could sufficiently adorn them; they wear their own pride as a better ornament than a gold chain. “Violence חָמָס [ḥāmās] covereth them as a garment.” In their boastful arrogance they array themselves; they wear the livery of the devil, and are fond of it. As soon as you see them, you perceive that room must be made for them, for, regardless of the feelings and rights of others, they intend to have their way, and achieve their own ends. They brag and bully, bluster and browbeat, as if they had taken out license to ride roughshod over all mankind.

Psalm 73 by C. H. Spurgeon (blueletterbible.org)

Spurgeon says that pride can lead to violence, and this is evidenced both in Obadiah and here in the psalm.

As the prophecy of Obadiah draws to a close, we read of the ultimate Judgment of God’s enemies and also – and here is the good part – on Israel’s survival in the coming Kingdom.

Edom is warned that just as they perpetrated violence on Judah, they will also suffer. See verses 15 and 16 of Obadiah:

15 “For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near;
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
16 For as you drank on My holy mountain,
So shall all the nations drink continually;
Yes, they shall drink, and swallow,
And they shall be as though they had never been.

Obadiah 1.15-16

And here it is, here’s the ‘but’. Israel, one day, will be blessed. Hallelujah!

Verse 17:

17 “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance,
And there shall be holiness;
The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

Obadiah 1.17

Israel is still suffering at the the hands of her enemies and it seems as though this is lasting forever, doesn’t it? It is going on and on, and on. No sooner do they overcome one opposition, another one comes up. But, in God’s timing, her suffering is only temporary and her deliverance will come, amen? Amen.

Verse 18:

18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
And the house of Joseph a flame;
But the house of Esau shall be stubble;
They shall kindle them and devour them,
And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,”
For the Lord has spoken.

Obadiah 1.18

Esau and Edom would ultimately be defeated, burned up into stubble. In the Harvest, nothing will remain of them.

The Lord said in Genesis 12.3, didn’t he?

I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 12.3

‘I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you [or hold you in derision]’. I will curse all who fail to bless Israel. They will eventually pay a price.

Notice that all who fail to bless Israel will eventually pay a price.

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