The Gospel in Obadiah

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship our text was the Old Testament’s shortest book, Obadiah. Just 21 verses, but packed with lessons and prophecy. Some books are easier to see Jesus in than others, right? Hosea bought Gomer out of a sinful lifestyle even though she was already His, foreshadowing the price paid for us at Calvary. Obadiah is a little more obscure, but, it is a book of the Bible, the words of a prophet, therefore, it points to Jesus.

The Gospel in the bigger picture in Obadiah confirms the great promise of the Gospel that God will deliver His people.

God’s rescue, the deliverance of His people, is really, bigger picture, the theme of the whole Bible. That’s what God promises through the words of Obadiah – deliverance, rescue and restoration for His people – and this is possible for believers, now, through the Messiah, through Jesus.

No matter how scattered, persecuted, or despondent His people are, God will restore and deliver His people.  

He will gather His people from all peoples and nations into His eternal family.

V.17 in lots of translations reads 

“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance,

And there shall be holiness;

The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

The last verse, v.21, echoes the ultimate triumph of the Gospel,

Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion

        to rule Mount Esau,

        and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.

Remember the multi-fulfilment of true Biblical, Scriptural, from the mouth of God prophecy?

Immediately this meant that there would be deliverance for God’s people.

Ultimately, this is reflected in Revelation 11.15

…The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of rhis Christ, and she shall reign forever and ever.

The final line of the book points towards the big idea: 

God will deliver His people. 

The substance of the promises of Obadiah are promises for those who have faith in Christ. 

He is the redeemer, He is the deliverer, He is the rescuer, He is the Saviour.

Obadiah 19-21 – Possessions and blessings

Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,

and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;

they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,

and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.


The exiles of this host of the people of Israel

shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,

and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad

shall possess the cities of the Negeb.


Saviours shall go up to Mount Zion

to rule Mount Esau,

and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

There is lots of talk about possession here, isn’t there, and 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 possess our possessions, no? 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.

God’s suffering people would have read this and understood, 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.

Saviours shall go up to Mount Zion

to rule Mount Esau,

and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

Saviours here has the sense of ‘deliverers’, and the point is clear, God is sending help, not for Edom, but for His people, a possession for us to possess, a spiritual blessing through Jesus Christ.

He is our Saviour, He is our Deliverer, He brings forth possessions worth possessing.

So, how much of that do we actually possess?

Obadiah 15-18 – Hope for the future

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.

As you have done, it shall be done to you;

    your deeds shall return on your own head.

For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,

    so all the nations shall drink continually;

they shall drink and swallow,

    and shall be as though they had never been.

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

    and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

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.

So things are looking bad, God’s people have been robbed, chased out of town, hunted down, handed over to their enemies, some even killed. Generally, throughout history, God’s people have suffered. Here in Obadiah, God has pronounced judgement on those who have done wrong, as only the Holy, pure, just, judge can do (Revelation 16.5-7).

But, judgement is not the end…there is always hope for the future. Look at verses 17 and 18 here;

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

    and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

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.

There will be deliverance for God’s people. 

We know so because the Word of God says so.

It also says 

…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.

and, to the best of my reading around, Edom fought with Israel against Rome between 66-70A.D., were crushed, and were wiped out as a people…the Word of God never fails to come true.

So, yes, there will be deliverance for God’s people, and it came through His Son, the exact imprint of His nature walking in a human body, Jesus Christ. For us as New Convenant believers, living now, to receive this deliverance from slavery to sin, from bondage to fleshly lusts, we need only call on His name to be saved. The Bible says this, a fitting Scripture for us to think on today;

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Romans 10.5-13

Obadiah 10-14 – Ignorance is not innocence

September-December is a great time here at Saar Fellowship; returning friends, new friends, new routines, a chance to ditch things from our lives that don’t belong…although its the ninth month of the year, September always feels like a fresh start.

So far in Obadiah, we’ve seen that pride is a terrible thing (vv.1-4), and that we should not boast (vv.5-9). Today, we see that ignorance is not innocence, and knowing the right thing is only good if we do it (These verses are actually paralleled in Jeremiah 49, showing us that Jeremiah likely had Obadiah’s prophecy before him in writing and in ministry.)

Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,

shame shall cover you,

and you shall be cut off forever.

On the day that you stood aloof,

on the day that strangers carried off his wealth

and foreigners entered his gates

and cast lots for Jerusalem,

you were like one of them.

But do not gloat over the day of your brother

in the day of his misfortune;

do not rejoice over the people of Judah

in the day of their ruin;

do not boast

in the day of distress.

Do not enter the gate of my people

in the day of their calamity;

do not gloat over his disaster

in the day of his calamity;

do not loot his wealth

in the day of his calamity.

Do not stand at the crossroads

to cut off his fugitives;

do not hand over his survivors

in the day of distress.

We read here a series of judgements on Edom for standing by whilst Jacob (Israel) was attacked and didn’t help, they knew they should have helped due to their shared ancestry, but they didn’t.

They did nothing, then rejoiced in the distress of their neighbours, then took advantage of this, then joined in, and finally killed those trying to escape.

The pride and betrayal we read of are, sadly, very human conditions, and if we are honest, lurk within us all. They knew they should have helped, but didn’t, and standing around whilst these terrible things happened and feigning ignorance of what was happening is simply not good enough.

So, are we the same?

Are we the same when we see people in distress? The parable of the good samaritan clearly shows us that our neighbour – the one we are to help – is the one with a need right in front of us, either spiritual or practical (Luke 10).

Today, then, let us not be like Edom, where there is a need let us be mindful and aware of it, let us do what we can do help, let us pull together as a house of living stones to help collectively if needed, but let us not pretend we are unaware of what is happening around us, because ignorance is not innocence.

Scriptures to think on today;

Hebrews 13:16

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

John 15:12

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Luke 12.48b

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

Obadiah 5-9 – Boasting

In Obadiah 1-4 we read that pride was a serious problem for the Edomites, the decedents of Esau, twin brother of Jacob. Here, in verses 5-9, we see that they also boasted in their allies, those nations around them whom were thought to be friendly;

If thieves came to you,

if plunderers came by night—

how you have been destroyed!—

would they not steal only enough for themselves?

If grape gatherers came to you,

would they not leave gleanings?

How Esau has been pillaged,

his treasures sought out!

All your allies have driven you to your border;

    those at peace with you have deceived you;

they have prevailed against you;

those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—

you have no understanding.

Pastor and Bible commentator David Guzik, writes this,

‘When God brings judgment against Edom, they will know the sting of treachery against them. The alliances they once trusted in would come to nothing, and they would be double-crossed by their former friends. The Edomites were proud of their political alliances, but God would break their pride and bring them low.’

People are fickle, if you go to any sports game you will see fans cheering their team on one minute, then lamenting the fact that “My grandma could have scored that!”, or “He couldn’t hit a beach ball with a cricket bat.”…heroes one minute, incompetent lucky-to-be-pro-sportsmen the next…

But, what should we boast in?

The Bible says we should boast only in the Lord; His person, His works, His ways, His will. Really, are people worth boasting in? None of us are righteous by our own accord, all our righteous acts are like filthy rags before God (harsh, but true).

There is one worth boasting in, isn’t there, one who brings hope for the future and for today, one who took the nails, one who tore the veil, only one spotless lamb.

Let us boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.

Scriptures to meditate on today;

Jeremiah 9:23

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;

Psalm 20:7

Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

Galatians 6:14

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.