Summary: Three attributes of God brought out in the book of Obadiah.
As I have studied and prepared for our study in the book of Obadiah, I began by wondering how I might present this material so that it becomes more to you than ancient history. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17,
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
Now if we believe that scripture tonight, then we necessarily believe that the 21 verses contained in Obadiah were also given by the inspiration of God for our benefit; that we might grow as the men and women of God through it’s study. I believe that tonight, and I believe that you do too, so as we begin our study, let us pause and pray, and may our prayer be that God would open our minds and hearts to receive the message contained in this short, but powerful book and make the appropriate application to our lives, so that we might be "doers of the Word, and not hearers only."
Verse 1 begins with the words…
"The vision of Obadiah."
Who was this man called Obadiah? The Bible mentions several men by this name, at least twelve of them, but none seem to be this particular one. In 1 Kings 18 we read about a man by this name that hid the Lord’s prophets in caves during the time of Elijah and Ahab. In 2 Chronicles 17 we are told about a law teacher named Obadiah that Jehoshaphat sent into the cities of Judah to preach the Word of God. There are several others mentioned, but none seem to be this man. Our prophet Obadiah raises from seemingly nowhere, proclaims the message God has given him, then returns to obscurity, leaving us only to think about God and the message pronounced. Is this so wrong or odd? Even Obadiah’s name – "servant of Jehovah" suggests that when we are true servants of God, it will not matter that our identity goes unknown to the world at large, because it is God and His Word that we want to draw attention to instead of ourselves.
It is for this reason that we find the next phrase…
"Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom;"
Obadiah didn’t proclaim his message, he didn’t express his feelings about Edom or what he might have thought about this sister nation. Instead, he got out of the way and proclaimed, "Thus saith the Lord GOD…" From this little phrase, I want us to consider a few of the attributes of God that will help to lay a foundation for what will be said in the following twenty verses.
How is it that over and over in the Scriptures we find this little phrase, "thus saith the Lord God?" Various prophets and other men in the Bible proclaimed that statement 277 times, and the phrase, "thus saith the Lord" a total of 430 times. I’ll tell you how – it was because they realized something of the sovereignty of God. There is great power and authority in that little statement. There is boldness and confidence – and it’s no wonder – after all, the God who created it all has complete power and authority to dictate how it will all unfold throughout history.
When you think about the sovereignty of God, remember Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:6. Hannah had been unable to bear children, but you remember that the Lord gave her a son. She took this son and gave him to the Lord at a very young age, and on the day she took young Samuel to the tabernacle, she broke out with a prayer of great praise to the Lord. In that prayer she said,
"The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the gave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them."
In Job 33:13, Job’s friend asked him this question,
"Why dost thou strive against [God]? For he giveth not account of any of his matters."
Later in the same book the Lord is speaking to Job and He makes this statement,
"Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine."
Listen, don’t ever doubt the sovereignty of God. He is omnipotent, that is, God is all-powerful and is able to perform all His holy will. He can do anything He wants to do, and His exercise of power over all His creation is His sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is His exercise of rule as Creator and King.