Welcome to Obadiah!

Today we start to look at the book of Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament. But don’t let that fool you – this book is a massive challenge! Every book of the Bible has been selected to be included for a reason. There is always something to learn. God can always find a way to speak to us.

So join me on this journey through the book of Obadiah and let’s discover what’s waiting for us there!

The name Obadiah means ‘servant of the Lord’. That is all we know about him. That is all we need to know. That is how I would love to be known.

This short book is the record of Obadiah’s vision concerning the fate of Edom, as revealed to him by God. Edom lay to the south east of Judah by the Dead Sea. Where the Israelites descended from Jacob, the people of Edom descended from Esau. Right there, there is cause for rivalry. The story of Jacob and Esau as recorded in Genesis 25-36 is all about sibling rivalry. Esau was the elder brother and therefore the rightful heir. But Jacob was shrewd. He was his mother’s favourite and together, they plotted to cheat Esau out of his inheritance. Esau had never taken God seriously and lived by his appetites and desires. He was easily fooled.

Centuries later, when God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, they requested to take the most direct route to the Promised Land through Edom. And they were refused. This resentment ran deep and would not be forgotten or discounted. This enmity between the two nations continued. Edom became known as a nation who disregarded the God of Israel. Simply because He was the God of Israel. They minimised His power and authority and belittled His people. They discredited this God at every opportunity. They deliberately opposed His plans.

At the time of this prophecy, Edom is strong and complacent in its strength. Nothing can touch it. No one can harm it. They’ve got it made. From its high mountain location, the people of Edom look down on the surrounding nations – both literally and in their attitude.

But nowhere is out of God’s reach and Edom is about to be brought back down to earth.

‘See, I will make you small among the nations;
you will be utterly despised.
The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks
and make your home on the heights,
you who say to yourself,
“Who can bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soar like the eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,’
declares the Lord.  Obadiah v2-4

Reading this just reminded me of the phrase ‘You can’t touch me’. It’s an attitude prevalent in our society. Ian attitude that says ‘I can do what I want and you can’t stop me’. ‘This is a free country. I have rights.’ ‘You have no right to comment on what I do and say.’

I’m really not a fan of ‘Family Man’ – not at all – but Peter Griffin’s parody ‘Can’t touch me’ sums this up pretty well.

You can’t touch me.

I can act outside of the law when it suits me.

You can’t touch me.

I can break the speed limit when I’m in a hurry to be somewhere.

You can’t touch me.

I don’t have to wait for the green man to cross the street.

You can’t touch me.

I can drop rubbish when there’s no bin in sight.

You can’t touch me.

I can make as much noise as I want even when people are trying to sleep.

You can’t touch me.

I can park in a disabled space if I’m just going to be a couple of minutes.

You can’t touch me.

I can indulge in inappropriate sexual attitudes and behaviours.

You can’t touch me.

I can post racist comments on Facebook.

You can’t touch me.

I can judge you because I am better than you.

You can’t touch me.

I don’t have to care about anyone or anything other than myself.

You can’t touch me.


There’s a lot of that kind of arrogance out there, isn’t there? That sense of entitlement. Immunity. As if we are above the law, above reproach, above God’s authority.

Edom is going to find out the hard way that nowhere is beyond God’s reach.

And so, I suspect, is everyone who has ever lived.

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