Today you read and finished Obadiah – let’s go to Haggai next. It’s only two chapters so you can finish the entire book in two days!
Obadiah 1:12-14, “You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble. You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble..” (NLT)
Obadiah is considered one of the minor prophets in Scripture. That doesn’t mean he had a minor message. It simply means his message was short. One chapter. That’s it. One chapter of warning to the people of Edom. Over the past few days I’ve read all the one chapter books of the Bible. I’m reminded that quantity of words has nothing to do with quality of message. What little you say today could become words of eternal life for someone tomorrow. Choose your words wisely.
Obadiah’s message was simple. Edom stood against Israel and the penalty for their stance would soon come to pass. Interestingly enough the consequences of their actions would not be accomplished by the work of Israel, but by the nations with whom Edom had allied themselves. It’s ironic on many levels. Like Israel was the nation that came from Abraham, Edom was the nation that came from Esau. This made Israel and Edom cousins. Yet when the time came Edom chose to stand against Israel and soon their punishment would fall. They would be consumed by the very nations they called ‘friend’.
On a side note – At the end of this chapter are two prophecies. First, that Israel would rise again as a nation. Second, that Edom would never be heard from again as a nation. I meet people everyday who doubt the Bible. They don’t believe it’s true. They look for ways to deny, discredit and disbelieve the things written in it. If they would read this passage I would ask them two questions.
- When was the last time the nation of Edom was in the news?
- When was the last time the nation of Israel was in the new?
These two prophecies have clearly come true. What else about the Bible may also be true? What are the odds that an obscure ancient author would write only one chapter and in that chapter get such detail correct? It’s not my only reason, but it’s certainly one more reason to believe what the Bible says is accurate and applicable to my life today.
There’s a series of verses that keep repeating a phrase, “You should not have…” I imagine the people of Edom weren’t much different from you and me. Certainly the culture were different, but when it came time to do business, provide for their future, protect their family or secure their interests they made those decisions exactly the same way you and I do.
They made the best decision they could based on the information available at the time.
You do this every day. You make the best decision you can based on the information available at the time. Sometimes it leads to tremendous success. Someone advised you to save a little money every month when you were younger. Now you can afford to ‘retire’ and live off the interest. Years ago you learned to live a healthier lifestyle. Now, while all your friends are struggling with bad backs and weak knees, you’re wrestling on the floor with grandkids. You made the best decision you could based on the information available at the time.
You’ve gotten it wrong too. “I just want to be happy.” So you abandon a marriage. “I just want to be rich.” So you invest in a fly-by-night get-rich-quick scheme that cost you more than you could afford. Again, you made the best decision you could based on the information available at the time and now you’re living with the consequences of those choices.
Edom did the same thing. It led to their destruction. Edom’s problem was the same as ours. There was better information out there, but they ignored it. They had been told to support Israel. History had shown God’s favor for His people. Other prophets had explained why Israel was going through such a difficult time. The right information was easily accessible, but the people of Edom ignored it.
We do the same thing. Right here in God’s Word are principles for a healthy life, precepts for right choices. Yet we often ignore the Word of God to do our own thing. We make the best decision we can based on the information available at the time.
You should not have…what decisions will you one day look back on and think, “You should not have…”?
God has given us a path to walk and the principles we need to follow that path successfully. Get to know his word so you’ll have the right information. Follow his heart so you’ll make the right decision and build a life based less on what you think and more on what he thinks.
Thank you for the gift of your word. Help me to read it, understand it, remember it, and live by it. Give me the information I need to make right choices. Give me the strength I need to follow through. Give me the courage I need to choose what’s right even when everyone around me chooses what’s wrong. Help me live a life without regrets, not because my conscience is cold, but because my choices are right. I pray for Israel. May we support them. May they support you.
I love you, in Jesus name –