Friday, June 08, 2012

Bible Study: How NOT To Treat A Brother - A Study of Obadiah (Part I)


Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Obadiah, although they are a bit better formatted than some former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, spring 2009, things are looking pretty bleak with the economy and unemployment, natural disasters, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor the Old Testament book of Obadiah. It’s only one chapter. (We will spend 4 weeks here, and read the book through each time. You will get to know Obadiah really well.) Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

What does this Old Testament book of prophecy have to teach us today? We can certainly learn from history and the behavior of others. The judgment of God against Edom teaches us how not to treat a brother. We should look upon Edom’s behavior as specific lessons of how we, as followers of Christ, should not act.

Obadiah means “servant of the Lord” or “worshiper of the Lord”. This Old Testament prophet was believed to be a contemporary of Jeremiah which would place the writing of this book around the time of the Babylonian attacks on Jerusalem and Israel’s captivity (605-586 BC). This book is a prophecy to Edom, reprimanding the nation for its pride and its role in Israel’s fall and its attitude of gloating over it.

See Ezekiel 35 for another prophetic judgment against Edom.

1 – God gave this prophecy to Obadiah in a vision.

Do you remember who Edom is? If you recall stories of Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Rebekah’s twin sons, in the book of Genesis, you may remember that Esau was also called Edom. These people are Esau’s descendants. According to Genesis 25:14, Edom is equated with Ishmael’s 6th son, Dumah.

God tells Edom that her allies will betray her.

This identical message about the envoy and going into battle appears in Jeremiah 49:14.

The envoy was encouraging the nations to join in battle against Edom.

LESSON – EDOM ARROGANTLY THOUGHT THEY WERE IMMUNE TO BETRAYAL, THAT THEY WOULD BE VICTORIOUS ON ANY BATTLEFIELD. THE ONLY CERTAIN VICTORY IS A GOD-LED ONE!

2 – Edom would be small and hated. God would cut Edom down to size.

This identical imagery appears in Jeremiah 49:15.

LESSON – EDOM WAS PRIDEFUL.

3 – Edom was arrogant and prideful. They thought they were invincible.

Who lives in clefts of rocks? Eagles. See v. 4. The clefts of the rocks of Sela, the capital of Edom.

This identical image appears in Jeremiah 49:16.

LESSON – EDOM WAS ARROGANT AND PRIDEFUL. THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE INVINCIBLE. NO ONE IS INVINCIBLE BUT THE LORD!

4 – Edom soars like an eagle – powerful, majestic, strong, acute vision (although they were pretty blind to their faults).

Nest among the stars – inaccessible places, except for God’s reach… God will bring Edom down from her lofty place.

This identical image appears in Jeremiah 49:16.

LESSON – EDOM THOUGHT THEY COULD GO HIGH ENOUGH THAT EVEN GOD COULDN’T REACH THEM. CAN YOU RECALL ANOTHER DISPLAY OF SUCH ARROGANCE IN THE BIBLE? YOU ARE NEVER OUT OF GOD’S REACH!

5 – Thieves and grape-pickers would only take so much. They would leave something behind. The implication is that a thief is more honorable than Edom.

This identical image appears in Jeremiah 49:9.

LESSON – EDOM WAS LESS HONORABLE THAN THIEVES. EDOM WAS GLUTTONOUS AND COVETOUS.




• The book of Obadiah teaches much about how NOT to treat our brothers and sisters. What have you learned about how you SHOULD treat others today?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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