The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), August 28
Judah is to be blamed for her own destruction. Judah has been warned repeatedly that her continued rebellion and idolatry will bring about her destruction. She refuses to repent; therefore God raises up the Babylonians to destroy the temple and take Judah into captivity.
The Edomites, Judah’s distant cousins, are not responsible for Judah’s spiritual infidelity, but they are responsible for exploiting Judah’s situation, “For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side—in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem—even you were as one of them” (Obad. 10-11, emphasis added).
The Edomites watch Judah’s trouble and do nothing except benefit from Judah’s captivity. And God promises to punish them. No nation will escape His judgment, “For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return on your own head” (15). God will restore Judah, but He makes no such promise to other nations (17-18).
God uses the Babylonians, who were more than willing to strike Judah, to chastise Judah—but He will also punish them for striking His beloved. He also holds the Edomites responsible for their lack of care for and their exploitation of their distant cousins.
God punishes those whom He uses to chastise His people. God simply removed His wall of protection from around Judah, which allowed the Babylonians and the Edomites to do their worst. They were not puppets on God’s string; they were simply released to do what was already in their hearts.
How do Judah’s situation and Obadiah’s prophecy apply to us today?
- Standing idly by while others suffer (apathy) and then taking advantage of their suffering (exploitation) attracts the judgment of God.
- No nation is big or strong enough to escape the judgment of God.
- It matters to God how nations treat other nations.
- No nation is invulnerable to God: “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down” (4).
- Apathy overflows from a contented and calloused heart, while entitlement and power drive exploitation.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Lam. 5:1-22; Obadiah; 2 Kings 25:22-26; Jer. 40:7-41:18):
Edom, Israel’s distant relative through Esau son of Isaac, rejoiced when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians attracted the judgment of God. How does Obadiah describe their attitude toward Jerusalem? While promise regarding Jerusalem does Obadiah include in his prophecy against Edom?
Describe life in Judah after the fall of Jerusalem. What does this reveal about opportunists?