Obadiah 1.19-21 – Possessions

The people of the Negev will take possession of Esau’s mountain, 

and the people of the foothills will take 

possession of the land of the Philistines. 

They will also take possession of the territory of Ephraim and the territory of Samaria, 

and the people of Benjamin will take possession of Gilead.

The exiles of this fortress of the people of Israel 

will take possession of what belongs to 

the people of Canaan, as far as Zarephath, 

and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad 

will take possession of the towns of the Negev.

Those who have been delivered will go up on Mount Zion 

in order to rule over Esau’s mountain. 

Then the LORD will reign as King!”

(NET)

There is lots of talk about possession here, isn’t there? Often we think of possessions as something not to chase after: store up treasures in heaven where no moths can ruin all your stuff, concentrate on the bigger picture, think higher up…However, so much talk of possessing this and possessing that gives us the impression that God wants us to take possession of something, doesn’t it? But what is He talking about?

David Guzik writes this,

“Possessing these other lands can only happen when we first possess what is ours. God has given us a rich heritage of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1.3), but how much do we actually possess?

God wants His people to possess their possessions.” 

On the surface, Obadiah is not an overly encouraging piece of prophecy, not very positive, and certainly we don’t see it at the top of devotional readings or texts to preach. But, this last verse is so encouraging, and it may just be the central purpose in Obadiah’s writing.

“Those who have been delivered will go up on Mount Zion 

in order to rule over Esau’s mountain. 

Then the LORD will reign as King!”

God’s suffering people would have read this and understood that He was saying “look, don’t worry about other people despite what they may do to you, because, ultimately, I will take care of it all for you”.

“Those who have been delivered will go up on Mount Zion 

in order to rule over Esau’s mountain. 

Then the LORD will reign as King!”

Those who have been delivered” gives the sense that God is sending help: not for Edom, but for His people. He is our Saviour, He is our Deliverer, He brings forth possessions worth possessing. He brings forth deliverance, salvation, and eternal life. 

I love what Walter L. Baker wrote in conclusion to Obadiah:

“The short Book of Obadiah presents a powerful message. It shows what happens to those who reject God’s Word and His grace, rebelling in foolish pride.

During Edom’s prosperity many in Israel could have asked, “Why do the wicked prosper?” (cf. Ps. 73:3) But the voice of Obadiah comes thundering through the pages of the Old Testament, and is echoed in the New: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal. 6:7). Obadiah’s words underscore the fact of God’s justice. “For we know Him who said, ‘It is Mine to avenge; I will repay.’ … It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30-31).

One who responds in obedience to the grace of God has everything to gain, but a person who spurns His grace in pride has everything to lose”. 

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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