YPS Magazine

ISSUE: 2010, Volume 7, Issue 3

PART OF THE SERIES:
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The Prophecy of Obadiah

by Stephen Baker, UK

Some people have commented that it would be good to have a section in YPS giving an overview of a book in the Bible. Hopefully when you read the main magazine (Precious Seed International) you have a look at the ‘Book Reviews’. This gives you an overview of various books and a little insight into what the book is about. You may choose to read the book in question or not to read it depending on the impression you form from the review. This section is the same, but different. I want to give you an impression of what a specific book in the Bible is about (the similarity). However as you are most likely to be a believer if you are reading this you must resist the temptation not to read the book after you have read the review (the difference). All of God’s word is essential for the spiritual health of the Christian. All Bible books are not directly about us but they can teach us how God thinks and operates, about other people’s experiences with God and, most of all, the Lord can speak to us through any part of His word.

The Prophecy of Obadiah

This is the shortest of the writings of the Old Testament; it has only twenty-one verses. It will take you a couple of minutes to read, at the most, and if you are very lazy you could download it on to your phone and have it read to you. It forms part of a group of books in the Old Testament which are described as ‘The Prophets’ and it will often be called one of the ‘Minor Prophets’. Be careful with this expression as it describes only the length of the book, not it’s rating in God’s eyes, or its importance. The man who wrote it is unknown apart from the fact that he was a Judean; there are ten other Obadiah’s in the Bible! His name means ‘the servant worshipper of Jehovah’. There is some uncertainty about when it was written; some estimate that it was written between 586 and 583 years before the Lord Jesus was born.

It’s main message

In this book Jehovah is communicating the fact that the nation of the Edomites will be judged by God because of the part they played in the overthrow and destruction of the City of Jerusalem by the Babylonian Emperor, Nebuchadnezzer of 2 Kgs. 25; 2 Chron. 26. The Edomites had watched while the city was attacked and ransacked. In fact the Edomites had entered the city, looted, and stood and gloated at the pain of the residents of Jerusalem and blocked the exit of those that ran for their lives.

All of this would have been awful enough if it had not been for the fact that the Edomites were related to the Judeans. Read the book (only one chapter!) and look for the name of Esau. Then check back through the earlier books in the Old Testament to see how they and the Judeans were related.

God pronounced judgement on the evil actions of these people. Despite the sin of the Jewish nation (which Jehovah will always judge righteously) God will not permit those who oppose His people to prosper.

In closing, this summary of the book will hopefully help you get your head round its main themes:

  • 1-9 The Punishment of Edomites predicted
  • 10-14 The reasons for the punishment explained
  • 15-16 The nature of the punishment defined
  • 17-18 The deliverance of Judah predicted
  • 19-20 Details of the disposal of the Edomites’ land and possessions
  • 21 The re-establishment of Jerusalem and the Kingdom

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