This week's Haftorah reading is from Obadiah 1:1-21. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he delves into the book of the Prophet Obadiah, and extracts 3 important lessons Obadiah teaches us, even for today! This prophecy completes the story of the result of Esau’s faulty character, and what happened to him after he parted ways with his twin brother Yaakov.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Obadiah 1:1-21
The book of Obadiah is a prophetic vision concerning the fall of Edom, whose founding father was Esau. Obadiah has an encounter with Adonai, who addresses Edom’s arrogance and charges them for their violence against Ya’akov. Obadiah gets overshadowed by the more popular works of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Being the shortest book of the Torah, it is tucked between Amos and Jonah, it is easily missed. Yet this small, compact prophecy deserves to be known. This prophet speaks to issues facing us as followers of Yeshua today. Even though his ministry was mainly directed to the Northern Kingdom, it places Obadiah chronologically before the fall of Samaria around 723 BC. In this case, then, the destruction of Jerusalem, which is placed in past tense in verse 11, is actually being foretold just as the final judgment of Edom is clearly predicted. The book of Obadiah is profound in thought and concept and contains much value for us today as Yah’s people.
We see the terms, “that day” and “day of Adonai” which point to the end times and the final judgment as well as the judgment to come upon Edom. In chapter 1:8-15 it uses the terminology, “day of destruction”, a “day of distress”, and a “day of calamity.” We find 3 important lessons Obadiah teaches us for today. This prophecy completes the story of the result of Esau’s faulty character. This hostility can be traced back to the birthright conflict and in Genesis 36, Esau is recognized as the father of the Edomites. Remember in Numbers 20:14-21, the Edomites refused to allow the Israelites to pass through their land on the way to the Promised Land and had to take another route.
The family has issues, like every family, but issues have consequences and Obadiah’s prophecy makes it clear about these consequences. Edom becomes a symbol of the annihilation of the wicked at the end times when spiritual Israel is restored to the everlasting Kingdom of Elohim.
Obadiah speaks against the Edomites who were continually at odds with Israel and are still even today. This prophecy against Edom comes after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC. In response to Israel’s destruction, Edom adopts an attitude of self-righteousness. Edom sees this as Adonai’s favor on them over Israel. This causes them to puff up with pride, believing themselves to be the favorite child of Adonai. Obadiah rebukes Edom for this spiritual pride, “Your proud heart has deceived you, you that live in the clefts of the rock, whose dwellings is in the heights…from there I will bring you down, says Adonai” (verses 3-4). The certainty of judgment is proclaimed! Their pride makes them believe that they are without reproach without fault. They see themselves as vindicated before Adonai. Because of this pride, they are unwilling to notice how, they too, have stepped away from Adonai’s divine plan. Adonai calls Edom to recognize their own spiritual need, so Obadiah cries out, “As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” (verse 15). Adonai cannot deny His own holiness. In choosing the way of pride, Edom will experience the consequences of that decision.
Pride masks sin. It makes us unable to see the way of Adonai because we turn our gaze inward, self-assured and self-focused. When we live with this attitude, we live as if the world revolves around us, to serve our desires and wants, and that includes Yah. This displaces Adonai as our Source of Life and satisfaction. It is idolatry of the self! Pride produces consequences for us. Proverbs 16:18 says, “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride left unchecked destroys our spiritual lives.
This is evident within our “cancel culture” today. Cancel culture is rooted in pride, for it is based on the arrogant assumption that our way is the divine way --- it is an exaltation of the self. As believers, we may be ridiculed or rebuked for our faith and belief in the absolute truth of Adonai’s Word, however, Obadiah offers us hope! When the enemy attacks with hurtful lies, when they attack to destroy you, your character, your effectiveness, we need not retaliate against them. Obadiah reminds us that Adonai is aware when others mock or rebuke us for our faith. Remember, Yeshua warned us, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matt. 5:11). As hard as it might be, we are called to embody the way of love, humility, and grace in the face of these attacks.
Obadiah reminds us that Elohim’s righteous ways, along with His righteous people, will be vindicated in Elohim’s own time! Edom’s sin was not just pride over their escape from exile, but they also gloated over Israel’s demise. They rejoiced as Jerusalem was ransacked; cheered as the Temple was destroyed; applauded while the people were enslaved and taken into Babylon. So, in verse 12, Obadiah scolds Edom, “You should not have gloated over your brother on the day of his misfortune; you should not have rejoiced over the people of Judah on that day of their ruin, you should not have boasted on the day of distress”. Instead of ministry, Edom offered mockery, instead of comfort they voiced contempt.
We can rationalize and justify our actions, after all we have had conflict with our enemies trying to destroy us. However, pride is easily adopted into our lives but it is deadly. Be careful we don’t take pleasure or celebrate someone’s misfortune or judgment—gloating over another’s misery suggests that Adonai delights in tragedy and in fact, He does not!
As we find ourselves in a time of tribulation, it can be difficult to offer grace amid such gossip and lies. Obadiah is clear that boasting in another’s adversity is contrary to the way of Adonai. We are called to “bless and not curse” according to Romans 12:14. We must endure like Yeshua endured the cross for us and because of us.
At the end of Obadiah’s prophecy, he declares that Elohim’s Kingdom will not be stopped. Obadiah 1:15, “The day of Adonai is near”, Adonai is coming and He will execute judgment over sin, death, and all the spiritual forces that corrupt and destroy Elohim’s creation. It will be a day of salvation for all His people. Verse 21, the last phrase, the one that serves as the climax to the entire prophecy, is “the Kingdom will be Adonai’s.” Yes, and Amen!
Adonai will establish His own Kingdom upon the earth, a Kingdom wherein the hurting are healed, the lost are forgiven, and the displaced are brought home! Yeshua cried out in Mark 1:8, “The time has come, the Kingdom of Elohim has come near.” Yeshua initiated Elohim’s Kingdom upon the earth – it has already begun – Yeshua invited us all to participate in it! Healing, grace, love, hope, power and victory are upon us and available to all who trust and believe.
Mishpocha, we are to live our lives differently. We are to live our lives entrenched in Adonai’s purposes for us, so we need to put down prideful arrogance and stubborn ways and act like Yeshua in humility. To do so, we must root out selfishness and ego, living with a humble heart in service to our King! Paul said in I Cor. 13:4 that “love does not boast.” The love we have towards others is grounded in our call to uphold one another in grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We cannot forgive if we boast over their hurts.
The primary location wherein Adonai’s Kingdom is revealed is in the context of our own lives. To live in the Kingdom is to keep our eyes on Yeshua and cultivate a Yah-like response toward others. When cursed, we bless. When insulted, we respond with shalom. It is in this way we live in the Kingdom, we participate in it, and better yet, we invite others to experience it. This is what Obadiah has taught us. This is the way of our Master Yeshua HaMashiach!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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