The truth is therefore made plain: God’s enemies will not continue. (Image by DeSa81 from Pixabay)
Some think that the Obadiah of this book was the governor/chief steward of king Ahab’s household, when the kingdom was experiencing intense spiritual degeneracy. (This is why the book is so apt to read today, when a similar degeneracy applies to the West). Matthew Henry does not agree that this Obadiah is the one employed by Ahab. However, like Daniel, Obadiah maintained his own life with complete faithfulness to the Lord.
Whoever he really was, the book describes a vision given by God to Obadiah, that Edom would be destroyed and Israel restored. Though the shortest book in the Old Testament it contains a weighty matter. He sees the capture of Jerusalem before it happened, and, in typical Hebraic fashion, he speaks of it as if it had already taken place. Obadiah lived about 400 years before Christ. He sees the Edomites joining forces with the Chaldeans and Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Israel and capture Jerusalem. For this reason, Obadiah was sent by God to declare His judgment upon Edom.
The prophecy was written just before, or about the time of, the destruction of Jerusalem. Edom is a type of God’s and Israel’s last foe, which makes it highly pertinent in today’s politico-religious environment, in which both Israel and Christians are surrounded on all sides by hateful enemies bent on destroying both. The conclusion is that in the end God will win, the enemy will be vanquished, and the kingdom will be supreme.
Edom (‘red’, and, through several roots, adam) is another name for Esau, whose descendants lived in a mountainous region called Edom, which ran from the head of the gulf of Akabah to the foot of the Dead Sea, a wild and rugged land, with fruitful valleys interspersed. The Edomites displaced the original inhabitants, the Horites, by war (and yet intermarried with them). They later opposed the kings of Judah and Israel, and refused to allow them free passage in their land, remaining hostile to Israel during its gradual decline, and waging war against it.
Though allied to the Chaldeans, Edom was slowly absorbed by Chaldean power until the Edomites eventually disappeared. Today, one of their chief cities, Petra, is barren and uninhabited, the people and language removed from time and history. The end of all who oppose God and His people.
By language and blood, the Edomites were closely related to the Israelites, which made their hostility to Israel and God all the more reprehensible. We see exactly the same hatred coming from the sons of Esau towards Israel, today, and, in the West, towards Christians. (2023 note: Hamas caused war between Israel and Islam).
Many Christians have the odd idea (borrowed from evolutionist propaganda and Higher Critical liars) that because we are ‘modern’ we are ‘more advanced’; therefore, those who lived at the time of Obadiah were ‘backward’ by comparison. The notion has no basis in fact; if anything (a view shared by ‘Intelligent Design’ science) the people of ancient times were far more advanced in intellect and achievements*. Their religious sense was far more honed than it is today. This is why the ‘minor prophets’ such as Obadiah should be heeded more closely. (*Today’s achievements are the product of millennia of accrued knowledge and activity).
Overall, I suggest we can read this book as a modern warning against all who oppose God and His people, but especially against those who claim to be ‘related’ spiritually – corrupt Christians, who join forces with evil, wicked movements... we know what these movements are. God will punish these groups of ‘believers’ who, instead of supporting God and His word, support the wicked men and women who oppose Him. They openly claim freedom for them, and call for legal recognition of their sin and their ‘rights’, even though God gives such people no rights at all.