The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom — we have heard a report from the Lord, and an envoy has been sent among the nations saying, “Arise and let us go against her for battle.” Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you are greatly despised. The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in the loftiness of your dwelling place, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’ “Though you build high like the eagle, though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. (Obadiah 1:1-4)
God Among The Nations
Obadiah is a small book with a huge message. Little is known about the prophet but the vision of Edom is timeless with the message of God among the nations. Throughout the history of man, nations have exalted themselves as impenetrable fortresses of safety. Building walls around cities with impressive fortifications have given a false sense of security that no one can penetrate. Great cities like Nineveh, Babylon and Jerusalem seemed without fear and yet their destruction came at a heavy price. History is littered with the skeletons of nations who have tried to rule the world and failed. Egypt was once a super-power but now is a base nation. The Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans filled the world with their domination but only ruins of a once mighty people remain. Germany and Japan sought for world dominion leading to world wars that killed millions. The once proud British Empire that stretched from sunrise to sunset is gone.
The vision of Obadiah is a reminder that when nations exalt themselves before God, He will bring them down. Edom was a nation protected by the vast caves and high places of a difficult land. The people felt secure in their cities lifting their hearts to a prideful boast that no one could drive them out. The Lord would bring judgment upon the Edomite’s because of their rejoicing at the fall of God’s people and their pride. No nation can stand before the wrath of a vengeful God – including the nation of Edom.
God among the nations is a story as old as man. After the flood in the days of Noah, man began building a tower to the heavens and the Lord intervened. Bob Waldron points out the purpose of the division of languages was to guarantee that no nation would ever have the power to rule the world as one. Nations rise and fall according to the will of the Lord God. He will never allow one people or one nation to exalt itself for very long. When the wickedness of the people becomes too great, the Lord will bring the nation to its knees. Reading the prophets is a clear forecast of all the nations that exist today and their future. History is a clear image of how the word of God is true. When all is said and done with the kingdoms of men in ruin, the kingdom of God will still be standing as immoveable because that is the will of the Lord. Nations built by man will fall. The church of the Lord will remain intact until His return. That is God among the nations and God among His royal nation.
The State that undermines the authority of God and rejects the supremacy of the moral order is thereby destroying the strongest supports of its own authority and is on the way to ruin. (John T. McNicholas, No Wall Between God and the Child, 1947)