For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh This is the deceiver and the antichrist. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;.
David then said, "What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be an adversary to me? Should any man be put to death in Israel today? For do I not know that I am king over Israel today? You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's. But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. Are you rendering Me a recompense? But if you do recompense Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense on your head. Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, "I am a mighty man.
Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations. Unlike the audience of the other prophets, Obadiah's audience made no pretence of acknowledging God. In other words, he spoke to a society much like our own. In this little book, God teaches us about who he is, who his friends are, and who his enemies are.
In the first few verses of the book, we immediately observe one answer to that question: the proud. Historically, Obadiah appears to have been written sometime after the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in b. Amid this terrible plight among God's people, their next-door neighbors to the southeast, the Edomites, did nothing to help to put it mildly! The Edomites were the descendants of Jacob's brother Esau see Genesis But this little book is not merely the condemnation of an outraged Israelite.
In fact, we don't even know that Obadiah was an Israelite; we don't know anything about him, really. Twelve different people in the Old Testament bear his name. And it may not have actually been the author's name. An envoy was sent to the nations to say, 'Rise, and let us go against her for battle'" Obad. It's possible that there were rumblings of war about the time this book was written, and the Edomites may have been slightly fearful that Babylon would invade them. Obadiah's language of wartime was not mere scaremongering.
He was genuinely warning them. Disaster was coming, and it was coming from God!
The envoy calling to the nations to do battle was calling, it seems, to the nations of the Babylonian empire to wage battle on Edom. At the same time, nothing in the book suggests that Edom was in a particularly low state when Obadiah delivered his message. In fact, God's promise to make Edom "small among the nations" v. They were proud. Obadiah's message would probably have come as a surprise to them. Yes, a few rumors of war may have been circulating, but the people certainly were not aware of any looming "judgment. Judah had just fallen, and, to be honest, its fall had enriched Edom.
In short, times were good. But then that's how pride always works. If you are a non-Christian, please recognize the futility of making anything your final security other than God himself. God made us in his image so that we might know him, and one day he will call us to account. There is nothing else in this world that is so certain. It does not matter how strong or prosperous or successful you feel.
God made you to give account to him, and you will. He is your only security. That is what Obadiah told the nation of Edom, who felt so strong and self-sufficient. The Lord said to Edom, "The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground? Edom was a small nation, but it was situated, like Switzerland, in an apparently impenetrable region of rocky heights and passes.
But that's where they made a fatal error. They thought they could see and survey all the surrounding country because of their position. But they could not see themselves. Their pride deluded them. God was not as impressed with their natural strategic defenses as they were. Even if they were in the most impregnable place on earth, God recognized no earthly power or material advantage that could withstand the course of his justice.
Once he decided to bring down a proud and boasting people, he would. But the Edomites were mindless of all this. Remember, their pride had deceived them. That's the nature of pride, isn't it? It is amazing to see what people proudly put their trust in. You may remember learning about the famous Maginot Line between France and Germany.
Heavy guns, thick concrete, air-conditioned living areas, areas for recreation, and even underground railways all assured the French that they would be safe against German aggression. When the German military began to build itself back up under Adolf Hitler, the French smugly thought they could ignore the matter.
They had the Maginot Line! Of course, when the Germans finally invaded, they came through Belgium, outflanking the Maginot Line and rendering it utterly useless. It took ten years to build. It took the Germans a few weeks to march around it. Friend, that is a just a small picture of what it means to trust anything apart from God.
Spend as much time as you want building something; imagine all the things it can protect you from; it still won't protect you. Yet we want our own Maginot Lines, and then we put our trust in them. So we give obsessive attention to our appearance, our bodies, our possessions, our accomplishments, our jobs, or our friendships. We trust in them to bring peace and security. All of these things, of course, are extensions of our own power, reflections of our own ability, declarations of our own proud independence from God. But what if none of these things last as long as you do?
Consider for a moment, what is it that you expect will last as long as you do? Then ask yourself, what will you do if it doesn't? What if your employer, your wealth, your parents or children, your house, your health, your ministry, a particular relationship, even your physical life does not last as long as you do?
That's what the Bible teaches will happen. Listen again: "'Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,' declares the Lord" v. When God decides to judge a proud nation, no economic stimulus package or Department of Homeland Security can save it. The nation that puts its trust in its own strength is the nation that will soon encounter the limits of its strength and eventually the loss of it, just as God promises Edom in Obadiah. The grandest of this world's powers have always declined.
Enemies of God by R.C. Sproul from The Psychology of Atheism
It has been fashionable ever since America's war with Vietnam to write about American decline. Since September 11, , the world's sole remaining superpower, a so-called imperial power, has almost always been written about in terms of its limitations and attendant problems. British decline has been an accepted fact of life in Britain for most of the past century. The U. For the rise of every great power in world history, a decline follows. It will not last. Edom was not a superpower; it was a small nation. But it was a proud nation. And such pride is never appropriate for creatures like us.
Humility is the way of God himself. In humility, God put on human flesh in Jesus Christ. In humility, Christ came and washed the feet of his disciples, pointing to an even greater cleansing. In humility, Christ went to his death on the cross, offering this greater cleansing from sin for all those who would ever repent and believe in him.
Humility is the way of Christ. So must it be for all Christians. God hates the proud cf. Therefore, we must humble ourselves before God. If you are a Christian, let me remind you that humility is the fruit of God's Spirit in you. It is the typical result of God's typical work. Be encouraged when you observe yourself fighting against pride. That is God's Holy Spirit working! In the same way, be concerned when you regard your pride with complacent indulgence.
John Stott has wisely written, "At every stage of our Christian development, and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is our greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend. If you are offended by the idea that pride is your greatest enemy, consider what other things offend you. If you were more humble, you would find fewer things that offend you. If you knew what you deserve because of your sins, and how merciful God has been to you in Christ, then there would be less cause to take offense when someone treats you far better than your sins deserve.
That's true for us as individuals, and for us as a church. May our churches never forget that we are utterly dependent on God.
Enemies Of God
The danger of the blessings God gives our churches is that we begin to trust in the blessings rather than in the God who gives them. May God preserve us from such pride, the pride that makes him our enemy. He will judge us for it. But what exactly had Edom done? How had their pride shown itself? Those are the questions that verses answer. Here we find that God opposes not just the proud, but those who oppose his people. In verse 5, God shows that Edom's pride has led it into heinous sin against Judah, which he compares with the actions of robbers and grape pickers: "If thieves came to you, if robbers in the night.
If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes? They take only what they need. But Edom had been merciless in its treatment of Judah.
Sinners, Enemies, and Sons of God in Romans
If you have ever been the victim of a robbery, you have probably felt the strange thoughts of vulnerability, anger, and violation often experienced by such victims. But that feeling of injustice that victims of robbery can feel, God is saying to Edom, does not adequately portray the injustice that the Edomites had committed against the Israelites. Also, the picture of what a robber does was inadequate for portraying the loss God would bring upon Edom: "Oh, what a disaster awaits you," God says in the middle of verse 5. Their ruination would not be partial; the nations would enter their strongholds and leave their towns and houses bare.
No investments were secure and no dwellings were safe. All protections and precautions would be useless, because God would use the Babylonians to conquer and plunder. With God's protection, there is safety amid unnumbered dangers; without God's protection, all other protections are finally worthless. And who better to bring God's judgment than the very ones Edom had trusted and relied upon in place of God. If you like suspense films, you know that skillful directors often employ the gullible, inordinate trust one character will place in another individual who appears to be a friend or ally but is really a mortal enemy.
The Edomites placed such an inordinate trust in the Babylonians, and now their protectors would become their devourers: "those who eat your bread [meal-sharing companions] will set a trap for you, but you will not detect it" v. The Edomites thought they were wise, but they were deceived. They detected nothing. God promises that the proud will be humbled.
And he abhors the nation who treats other people as if those other people belonged to the nation rather than to God. God makes this point throughout the Bible. Do you remember what the risen Christ said to the Christian-persecuting Saul when he appeared to him on the road to Damascus? Christ identifies so closely with his people that he refers to them as himself.
God demonstrates a similar kind of identification with his people in the book of Obadiah.
Actions against God's people are actions against God. If you have acted against God's people, you have sinned against God. All of us have alienated God by our actions. In verse 8, God restates his promise to destroy Edom, but in much more explicit terms: "'In that day,' declares the Lord, 'will I not destroy the wise men of Edom, men of understanding in the mountains of Esau? Their wise men could not save them now. Neither could their strong men: "Your warriors, O Teman, will be terrified, and everyone in Esau's mountains will be cut down in the slaughter" v.
Why would this happen? The larger point being made, of course, is to demonstrate how outrageous it was for Edom not to offer hospitality to fleeing Israelites, but violence instead. Their violence was not violence against strangers, but against brothers. Because of this outrage, says God, "you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever" v. Notice, God would not temporarily destroy them, as he temporarily sent the Israelites into exile. He would destroy them forever. God cares how his people are treated. That's why I will use my Sunday morning pastoral prayers to ask God to give Christians around the world just governments that will not oppose the spread of God's gospel.
Every nation and government around the world should realize that it is not in the best interest of the nation to abuse its citizens. God has made all people in his image to worship him freely, and he has called his people to worship him particularly. As we have already said, opposing God's people is opposing him, as Edom did.