Summary: The Edomites believed some things about their nation that God found to be false.
Pride Goes Before A Fall
Before we look at our text in Obadiah, I want us to consider some of what the Proverbs have to say about pride.
Proverbs 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
Proverbs 15:25 The Lord will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.
Proverbs 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.
There are plenty of other verses where God expresses what He thinks about pride, but I think we all get the point – He hates it: He hates it on every level, whether it is in a individual’s life, in a family, in a church or in a nation as we find in the book of Obadiah. Though we’ll be dealing primarily with expressions of national pride in this message, remember that any collective body, such as a church or a nation, is an expression of the individuals who make it up. The nation of Edom was proud because the citizens of that nation were proud, and thought they enjoyed many good things, thinks that were in some cases better than those of other neighboring nations, they were wring in thinking themselves to be responsible for what they had.
The Lord said that the Edomites were deceived. “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee…” The Edomites believed some things about their nation or about themselves that God found to be false. Let’s read out test, verses 3-8, and then consider these beliefs. As we do let’s try to be honest with ourselves as to whether we hold these same beliefs.
“The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord. If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough: If the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes: How are the things of Esau searched out! How are his hidden things sought up! All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee ever to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy might men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.”
They Had Superior Defenses
Last week as I talked about the geography of Edom, I told you about how difficult it was to get to their capital city of Petra. Little of the land was suitable for attacking the nation, but Petra was the pinnacle of their great defense system. From the mountain tops in the region, there is no hint of civilian life in the area, but nestled down in the valley of that land is a gorge that today is known as the valley of Moses.
This gorge is about a mile long and is on average only about 15 feet wide. In some places two horsemen can barely ride next to each other. The sun is shut out from the place because of the high sandstone cliffs that rise hundreds of feet on both sides of the gorge. At times the sun is blocked out to the extent that it gets dark at noon.
Once you travel through the gorge, it opens up into a level valley of slightly less than one square mile surrounded by many mountains. There are no freestanding homes of buildings here, because everything is carved right out of the rock. The great temple Al-Khazneh is one such building. It is carved right into the face of the cliff and runs about 130 feet high. It has doors that are 25-30 feet high. Now think about an invading army coming into that city. It would be extremely difficult to launch an attack, assuming they could even find the city, and if they did, their entrance into it would be so slow that they could be slaughtered as they entered.