Obadiah – Judgement of Edom
"… the kingdom shall be the Lord's." Obadiah 1:21
Obadiah prophesied around the time of Babylon's destruction of Jerusalem. The primary message of his prophecy is an indictment of the Edomites for the way they participated in Judah's downfall. At only 21 verses, Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. When reading Obadiah it might be a good idea to read Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats, as the Edomites are well represented by the goats in Jesus story.
As we read in Genesis, Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac and were bitter rivals since the day they were born, when Jacob exited the womb with a hand grabbing one of Esau's feet as if trying to squeeze past him in order to be the first one out. He didn't make it though, Esau was first, and Jacob went about stealing Esau's birthright by deception.
Jacob became Israel and his sons became the twelve tribes of Israel, through whom (the tribe of Judah specifically) Jesus would be born. Esau became the father of the Edomites, technically, brothers of Israel, but as Obadiah points out, they didn't act very brotherly.
Edom represents the sinful, baser side of humanity, and the actions that spring from a darkened heart. Edom didn't try and protect Israel when Babylon invaded. They could have come and stood by their brothers, but they didn't. In fact, they gloated and took pleasure in Israel's suffering (v12), and actually tried to profit from Israel's loss (v13), and stood in their way when some in Israel tried to escape the siege (v14).
Even if they weren't family, they had the opportunity to help someone who was being attacked and they didn't. Good deeds left undone, pretending not to see, or even helping the attackers, are just more examples of the dark, selfish, prideful human nature that lives inside all of us.
Jesus takes these tendencies a step further, though, in the parable, when he says that when we treat our brothers, the poor, oppressed, hungry or incarcerated this way, we are actually doing it to Christ himself.
Ignoring the vulnerable is ignoring Jesus. Assisting an effort to hurt God's children out of meanness and jealousy is a direct attack on the Lord. And God doesn't miss it, He knows what is in man and He makes it clear that "as we have done, so it shall be done to us."
The flesh (Edom) and the spirit (Israel) are in a battle to the death, the flesh will always take the easy way out, side with the majority, seek gain at the expense of others – but the spirit never will.
If your spirit has been made alive by faith in Christ, if your inner man is at war more than ever before, it is because the Holy Spirit, abiding in your innermost being, is pulling you away from fleshly, worldly selfishness. Pulling you towards Jesus, to think and talk and act like Him. To help the oppressed, to serve the needy, to pray for those who persecute others.
"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace." Romans 6:14
By God's grace, your spirit-side will ultimately win control, and your life will be scattered with acts of kindness and goodness that honor Jesus and bless His children. And the kingdom of your life won't be divided any more, the flesh will be in its proper place, ruled by the spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ reigning in your heart. As Obadiah concludes – "the kingdom shall be the Lord's."