Read the book of Obadiah.
What important moral and spiritual truths can we take away from this book?
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, and it reports on the prophetic vision of God’s judgment upon the land of Edom. The message of the book focuses on three issues: Edom’s arrogance (vss. 1-4), Edom’s coming humiliation (vss. 5-9), and Edom’s violence against Judah (vss. 10-14).
The Edomites were the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. The hostility between the Israelites and the Edomites goes back to the family feud between the twin brothers, who later became the fathers of the two nations. Yet, according to Genesis 33, the two brothers were later reconciled. Thus, the Israelites were commanded by God not to “‘abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother’” (Deut. 23:7, NKJV).
In spite of this, the hostilities between the two nations continued for centuries. When Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took its citizens into captivity, the Edomites not only rejoiced but even preyed on the fleeing Israelites and also helped to plunder Jerusalem (Ps. 137:7). For this reason the prophet Obadiah warned that Edom will be judged by their own standard: “‘As you have done, it shall be done to you’” (Obadiah 15, NKJV). The Edomites did not behave as brothers toward the people of Judah in their worst hour but rather joined the enemy forces (Lam. 4:21-22).
The region that was occupied by Edom is located southeast of the Dead Sea. It is a mountainous land filled with high mountain peaks, sharp crags, caves, and clefts in which armies could hide. A number of Edomite cities were located in these nearly inaccessible sites. Sela (also known as Petra) was Edom’s capital city. The nation developed an arrogant confidence summed up in the question, “‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’” (Obadiah 3, NKJV).
God holds responsible those who take advantage of others in their time of distress. Obadiah warned the proud people of Edom that God would bring humiliation upon their heads. There is no place to escape from the Lord (Amos 9:2-3). The coming day of the Lord will bring both judgment and salvation. Edom will drink God’s cup of wrath, while the fortunes of God’s people will be restored.