The Book of Obadiah: Raiding and Rivalries

Author: Naomi Zylstra — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: February 26, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
The Book of Obadiah: Raiding and Rivalries


I hadn’t read the book of Obadiah until about two years ago. It’s the shortest book in the Old Testament (it’s only one chapter), and it can be confusing. The book mostly centers on poems that cast judgement on the people of Edom, who were related to the Israelites through Abraham’s family and who lived on the opposite side of the Dead Sea from the Israelites.

These two people groups had a rocky history that went all the way back to the twin sons of Isaac: Jacob (who would be renamed Israel) and Esau (who would also be called Edom). These twins fought and had a falling out (Genesis 25-28), and even though they had a moment of reconciliation (Genesis 33), their descendants would continue to have conflict throughout the years (Numbers 20:14-21). This conflict culminates in Edom raiding Israelite cities after Babylon takes Israel into captivity (Obadiah 1:10-14).

The first half of the book of Obadiah is about God holding this Israelite neighbor accountable for their raiding and their pridefulness as a nation. But then the author shifts their focus in verse 15 to talk about how the day of the Lord is coming for all nations. The author shows how all nations that are prideful like Edom will fall. The nation of Edom is a symbol for all the nations that will be repaid for their evil deeds when God’s judgement comes.

But there is hope. God is full of love and mercy, so the book ends in a promise of restoration. God will bring justice, and He will do this through Jesus. Jesus is God the Son, and He is also a descendent of Jacob. First, by Jesus’s death and resurrection He will defeat sin and death and forgive all who trust in Him, making us part of His new, holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). And when Jesus returns and ushers in the new creation, He promises to bring full restoration and peace. The fall of Edom points to the day Jesus will rid the world of all evils so there can be a new and glorious creation where all God’s people live together in harmony. • Naomi Zylstra

• What is a pain or hurt that you’re looking forward to God’s justice correcting?

• How can knowing that God’s perfect justice and restoration will come some day give us hope and strength to pursue justice and restoration as we follow Jesus here and now?

But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance. Obadiah 1:17 (NIV)