O is for Obadiah

O-bla-di, O-bla-da….no, that’s not it.

Obi Wan…..no, that’s not it either.

Oh, now I remember! It’s Obadiah.

Probably not a name that will appear on top 10 baby name lists anytime soon. But it used to be quite popular…say like from around 840 to 580BC. Obadiah…was he called Obi for short? I dunno. Anyway, this particular Obadiah is credited with penning the shortest book of the bible…which, coincidentally, bears his name. No one really knows whether it was written in the 800s or the 500s? Does it really matter? Circumstances surrounding the events are eerily similar during both periods of time, and the lesson is pretty much timeless.

But just to set the stage: Once upon a time, there were two brothers…sons of the infamous Isaac...Esau and Jacob. After that little misunderstanding about a birthright, they went their separate ways and founded the nations of Edom and Israel, respectively. But their hostility towards each other grew to mythical proportions. One could say Esau’s nation of Edom took holding a grudge to an entirely new level. Throughout the centuries, instead of coming to Israel’s defense when their brother was attacked, Edom was quick to help any and all of Israel’s enemies. And hey, as long as the Gentiles were attacking Israel, they certainly weren’t paying attention to Edom. Whew…better them than us! Since the bible tells us Israel was sort of God’s favorite, it’s only a matter of time before Edom’s repeated bullying, arrogance and indifference to their Israeli brothers gets them into a world of hurt.

Enter Obadiah.

No one really knows where he came from, or where he went afterwards. But as a prophet for Israel, Obi sweeps in as a cheerleader to boost their spirits and get them ready for war. Think of the Braveheart scene where William Wallace delivers his motivational war speech while on horseback….but without the horse…and warpaint.

It’s a sure thing. A done deal. Destruction is coming. Edom has gotten a little to big for their britches, with an attitude to match.

And Obi is pretty specific with his message:

There is the promise of judgment
Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised…Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord.

The reason for judgment
Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,  shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.

The description of judgment
The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken.

Them there’s fightin’ words…but the fight is disproportionately one-sided. Because when it’s all said and done, God protects His own. The only question is….when?

Edom continued business as usual after the warnings from God’s prophets. They laughed at the warning and let down their guard. But, sometimes during the fifth century BC (400-499), Edom was overtaken by other Arab nations, and eventually the Romans conquered the capital city of Petra. The area became almost uninhabited from the 7th to the 12th century AD and was forgotten for so long that it was considered “rediscovered” in 1812 by Johann Burckhardt, a Swiss traveler.

Linking up with ABC Wednesday





10 thoughts on “O is for Obadiah

  1. I love how you tell these stories! You have as great gift for making things understandable for today. Like Photowannabe I must go back and read Obadiah again. I recently finished teaching Hosea. You need a good grounding in Old Testament history to deal with the minor prophets!


  2. For some reason I haven’t gotten email notifications for your blog in quite a while…I thought perhaps you were taking a break. I’ll check my subscriptions to see if there’s a problem on my end; will you check yours as well. Sorry I’ve missed these posts 😦
    Love Leslie’s comment about it not being a popular name, lol!


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