Summary: God considers pride much worse than man.
The Pride of Edom
Before we consider our text tonight, I want to ask you some questions. What are some sins that are particularly offensive to you? What might be some sins that are offensive to a church? Can you name some sins or a sin that God finds particularly offensive? Tonight as we consider the first three verses of Obadiah, we are going to come face to face with a harsh reality – God doesn’t look at sin the way we do. There is a little verse that many of us like to use when someone doesn’t have much to offer in outward appearances. You remember when Samuel went to Jesse’s house looking for the next king and Samuel was confused that God didn’t want any of the first few sons? He was looking at their height and ability and so forth, then the Lord said, "I don’t see things the way you do. Man looks on the outward appearances, but I look on the heart."
Well listen, that works two ways. Sure God sees the good in people when we can’t see any, but He also sees the bad in people when we find none. Tonight we’re talking specifically about pride: the pride of Edom, and the existence of pride in our own lives, in the life of our church and even in our nation. We’re going to come back to this subject of pride, but let’s consider the rest of the text first.
"The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; We have heard a rumor from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee…"
Now last week we identified Obadiah, the servant of the Lord. We considered three of the attributes of God: His sovereignty, His holiness and His love, but who is this Edom?
Since the book of Obadiah is a pronouncement of God’s judgment on this nation, it would help to know something about it. Let’s start with…
In Genesis 25, we’re introduced to the man who would later have this nation named after him. You remember that Isaac and Rebekah had twins. The Bible says,
"And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel: and his name was called Jacob…and the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents."
Now these two boys, twins we are told, were born and as they grew, they couldn’t have been much more different. They were different in appearance, in values, in ambitions, in likes and dislikes and in that which they loved. One son was daddy’s favorite, the other was a momma’s boy. While there’s no one thing that you could pin the problem on, it is obvious from the Bible record that there were years of tension between the two. We learn from the stories of the birthright that Esau sold to Jacob that Esau despised his birthright and all that went with it. We learn from the stolen blessing that Jacob was a deceptive man who was out for his own interests, even if it meant turning his back on family honor and honesty. The two fought bitterly and even had to separate themselves from one another.
In Genesis 28, we read that Isaac sent his son Jacob back to where his family was from to take a wife from among his own people. He sent him out with blessings and great hope. Esau knew about what was going on, so out of spite and anger, he chose to act out in retaliation. Genesis 28:6 says,
"When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram; and Esau, seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had…"
Over time, two nations developed from the families of the two boys. He two families were related by blood, but riven by everything else. Little love was lost between the two peoples, just as little love had been lost between the two brothers, and while the book of Genesis records for us that the two made an attempt at making amends, the fighting continued for years to come. It wasn’t fighting between brothers any more, it was now fighting between nations. We know that God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, but do you remember Esau? Genesis 36:1 says, "Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom." Verses 8 & 9 say, "Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom. And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir."