Deep into the Old Testament is the book of Obadiah. Obadiah was a prophet for Judah right around the time when the nation of Edom had just destroyed Judah. Edom was a wealthy nation safe among the rock cliffs which offered only a narrow gap as an entrance. They were rich in allies and so they seemed indestructible. Oh yes, Edom took this and held it pridefully as they celebrated the demise of their opponents and cheered with their friends about their power.
The beginning of this short little book drew me in almost immediately… (Obadiah 1:1-4)
We have heard a message from the LORD that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say,
“Get ready, everyone! Let’s assemble our armies and attack Edom!”
The LORD says to Edom, “I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised. You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains. ‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’ you ask boastfully.
But even if you soar as high as eagles and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you crashing down,” says the LORD.
God had other plans for Edom. You see He let Edom gain power and wealth and status. He watched as Edom become more and more selfish and further and further away from Him. He allowed this to happen. The Edomites kept on building their fortress bigger and bigger. They couldn’t get enough land, enough money, enough allies in order to make their plan come to fruition. They pushed God out of their lives and placed themselves first. No room for God here. No room for God in our wealthy, beautiful nation. Edom figured they were doing just fine without God – I mean come on, they were destroying the God-filled nations (like Judah). Watching closely as the Edomites continued on with their self-pleasing life, God had other plans.
“I will cut you down to size among nations; you will be greatly despised.” Edom would be despised even by their so called allies. Edom would have all their wealth stolen by thieves. By the first century A.D. the nation of Edom no longer existed.
What I found so prophetic in this book of the bible was not just the fact that Obadiah had predicted Edom’s demise, but the fact that Obadiah predicted our own future. This story is about our nation today. Can you see the similarities in our present society?
What do we value the most as a nation? Wealth, power, safety from our enemies – right? What is God trying to tell us through Obadiah in these scriptures? I am just going out on a limb here, but I believe God is trying to tell us that those things do not matter if He is not present amongst us. Selfishly we all like to take the credit for gaining a good position among our peers, family and co-workers. Selfishly we all like to work everyday showing how great we truly are. Selfishly we don’t like it when people tell us that we are wrong. We push those people to the side. We find a way to build up our riches. We seek a safe shelter to keep the enemies away. We find so-called friends to help us on our mission (yet we know we will step on those friends as soon as they get in the way).
Obadiah was predicting our life today. Scary, but true. How can we change his prophecy? We can choose to put God first in our life. We can choose God over everything else – wealthy, power and safety from our enemies. Think about it. It is possible to change. If we don’t change, I think Obadiah has given us a window to what our future may hold. There is only one way to fall when you reach the top. There is only one way to go once you have all the wealth. If we don’t start to find some room for God and push away our selfish desires, then God is letting us know that all of that can fall over and collapse with the snap of His finger. It may not look like the destruction of Edom, but it will happen. Life will deteriorate as we know it.
When our foundation in life is selfish desires, then our foundation will fall. When we choose God to be our foundation, then our foundation will stand even through the worst struggles in life. We need God to battle on. We need God – not wealth, not power and not safety – just God.