Tomorrow we're opening up the book of Obadiah. In this, the shortest book of the Old Testament, the minor prophet speaks to Edom. The background is eye-opening.
The Edomites were most likely relatives of the Israelites through family lines. There was probably a great deal of cross-cultural blending in the area, but theories suggest that the Edomites were from the line of Esau, Jacob's twin brother. At birth, Esau first came out red, and that had to do with his name and nickname. ('Edom' sounds like Hebrew word for red.) It was said of these brothers, that they would be two peoples from the same womb but each be a nation and be divided (Genesis 25:23).
If that were not enough, there are some theories that Edom--from the line of Esau--might have cross-bred with the children of Ishmael, or the Ishmaelites. Genesis 17:20 says Ishmael would give birth to 12 princes and become a great nation. Geneses 25:12-18 records the fulfillment of this prophecy and that they settled in the direction of Assyria. (Also, Genesis 25:1-6 recorded that Abraham had another wife named Keturah and she had a bunch of kids that Abraham settled in the east country.) Ishmael was the uncle of Jacob and Esau and the half-brother of Isaac, the twin's father. All of them have Abraham in their lineage. Also, many Arab cultures hold that they hail from Ishmael, (the son of the Egyptian woman named Hagar and Abraham from Ur).
With that family tree, it makes the relationship between Isreal and Edom even more complicated than an unclear shared border. These guys have tension between them. In fact, Edom blocked the Israelites from traveling through the territory when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. And when Babylon assaulted Jeresulem, Edom helped burn the city. They sided against their relatives!
Obediah is God's Word against Edom. Because they opposed God and God's people, they will experience God's retributive judgment. Obadiah 1:15 says, "As you have done, it shall be done to you, your deeds shall return on your own head."
Why does this matter for us today?
I'll be talking about this on Sunday. I hope you'll join us. And as you're thinking about the 21 verses of Obadiah, I hope you see that God is concerned with all nations and God desires that we live well with others. Also, I've embedded an overview video from the Bible Project.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Bryan Catherman