The Message of Obadiah: Apathy Toward a Brother

The Message of Obadiah: Apathy Toward a BrotherText: Obadiah 1:10-11

In this series, we are going to do an overview of the Minor Prophets. The goal is to (1) understand the overall theme of each book and (2) see what lessons there are for us. In this lesson, we are going to see what we can learn from the book of Obadiah.

Historical Context

  • This is the first of the Minor Prophets that was written to another nation – Edom (v. 1); located southeast of Judah; people descended from Esau (Genesis 36:8-9)
  • Written about Edom’s response to Judah’s destruction (v. 12) – mostly likely this was the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC
  • Warns of Edom’s destruction by the same people (v. 7) – destroyed by Babylonians in 582 BC

Overall Theme: Apathy Toward a Brother

  • The brother of Edom was Jacob/Israel (v. 10) – enmity began before they were born (Genesis 25:22-23)
  • Edom did not help Israel (v. 11) – this was not something new; refused to even let Israel pass through their territory during the wilderness wanderings (Numbers 20:14-21)
  • Not only did they fail to help, they wronged their brother (cf. Amos 1:11) – they aided the enemy (v. 11, 14); they rejoiced over their brother’s misfortune (v. 12-13)

Main Points

  • Deceived by arrogance (v. 3) – they had a false sense of security (cf. Amos 6:1); they lived in the clefts of the rock (v. 3) and thought they were secure (v. 4); ordinarily a place of protection, but their arrogance led to their fall (cf. Proverbs 16:18)
  • Betrayed by allies (v. 7) – allied with Babylon, thinking it would help them (cf. Ezekiel 35:10); they put their trust in those who were not worthy of trust
  • What they did would be done to them (v. 15-16) – God said HE would do this (v. 2, 4, 8); they believed they had an opportunity to plunder Judah (Ezekiel 35:10); yet this would happen to them (v. 19; Ezekiel 35:11)
  • God would make things right (v. 17-18) – Judah would be restored

Lessons for Us

  • We must not boast in our circumstances/position (Revelation 3:17; Luke 18:10-14) – arrogance is deceptive; instead, we need to learn/practice humility (Romans 12:3, 16)
  • We must not “stand aloof” when brethren need our help (Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:16) – must show love for our brethren (1 John 3:16); not just in word, but in deed (1 John 3:18); Paul had “intense concern” for his brethren’s spiritual well-being (2 Corinthians 11:29)
  • We must remember that God will make things right (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8) – includes our treatment of others (Matthew 25:41-45); therefore, we must be on the Lord’s side (2 Peter 3:14)


  • Obadiah reminds us of how God views the arrogant and those who do not love their brethren
  • We need to practice humility and help one another

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