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Applications From Obadiah

(All Scripture quotes from NAS)

1.                Background

The book is a judgment against Edom for their sins against Israel.  There is no offer of conditions for mercy or warning to repent.  The book seems to be more to console Israel than to plead with Edom.

The nation of Edom came from Esau and the nation of Israel from his younger twin brother, Jacob.  The struggle between the two had a prenatal origin, as they wrestled in the womb (Genesis 25:22).  It continued when Esau sold his birthright and Jacob stole his blessing. 

Fundamentally, they were brethren; Israel was not to hate them or take their land (Deuteronomy 2:5-8; 23:7).  However, the reconciliation of the brothers did not survive to their ancestors; they did not act like brethren.  The OT record is full of references to the rift between them.  Most notably, the Edomites would not allow Israel to pass through their land during the Exodus (Numbers 20:14).

2.                Arrogance

2.A.          Self reliance, vs. 1-5

James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."  But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.


Romans 12:16  Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Self righteousness ("that's a good lesson for somebody else to hear")

Luke 18:9-14  And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:  "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  "The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'  "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'  "I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

2.B.          Dependence on associations: false sense of security, vs. 6-9

Delusion that our associates will save us.  The strength of others in the church is not transferred to those who would continue in sin.  Living in a henhouse does not make you chicken.  We are judged on our own.  Ananias and Sapphira were not spared by the faithfulness of their associates.

Acts 5:11-13  And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.  At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico.  But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.

2.C.          Contrast: confidence in Christ

Acts 14:3  Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.

Not to be confused with arrogance or dogmatism.

1 Peter 4:11  Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Acts 9: 22  But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.

3.                Guilt by Consent

3.A.          Sin of omission, vs. 10, 11

Lack of involvement.  Doing nothing: the one-talent man.

James 4:16  Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Matthew 25:25  'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'

Participation in evil by consent

2 John 10, 11  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

The truth of the gospel is daily under attack.  If we do not defend the truth when error is taught, we become false teachers by our apathy.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6  for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

3.B.          Gloating, vs. 12-14

Sadistic joy in the misfortunes of others

Romans 12:9-15  Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Lack of brotherly love.

Titus 3:1-3 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

4.                Retribution

4.A.          Vengeance belongs to the Lord; recompense is sure, vs. 15

Romans 12:17-21 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.  "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head."  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Reaping what was sown.

Galatians 6:7,8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

4.B.          Edom's destruction will be total, vs. 16, 18-20

Hebrews 12:25  See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.  For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.

4.C.          Israel will have a remnant, vs. 17, 21

Romans 11:2-6  God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?  "Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life."  But what is the divine response to him? "I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."  In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.



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