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The Prophet hath a vision concerning the children of Esau. As sworn foe to Christ, Esau's destruction must follow. Obadiah is here setting it forth. Towards the end of the Chapter there are many gracious promises to Israel.
"The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. (2) Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised."
We have here the preface, as it were, to this prophecy: and a very awful one it is. It is in vain to conceal the matter; the Lord's distinguishing grace to his people, and hatred to his enemies, is marked in every page through the whole Bible. And what the Lord saith by his servant Malachi, may and ought to be as the contents of the word of God upon all these occasions; Was not Esau Jacob's brother, saith the Lord! yet I loved Jacob and I hated Esau. Malachi 1:2-3 ; Romans 9:10-21 .
"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? (4) 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. (5) 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? (6) How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up! (7) All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even 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. (8) 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? (9) And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that everyone of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter."
Edom that is the descendants of Esau flourished greatly in temporal things. We read of dukes of Edom. Genesis 36:15-19 . Yes! high titles and loud sounding names they had. Poor Isaac seemed to hint at this, Genesis 27:40 . breaking the yoke of Israel from off his neck. And is it not so now? What said Paul in his days? 1 Corinthians 1:2 ~. And what were God's people then? 1 Corinthians 4:9 . What are they now?
"For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever. (11) In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. (12) But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. (13) Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; (14) Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. (15) For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. (16) For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been."
I beg the Reader particularly to remark the cause of the Loan's displeasure at Edom, namely, his hatred to Israel. And this solely on account of the blessings of redemption. And, Reader! this is now the great and crying sin of the unawakened. It is all leveled against the Loan JESUS CHRIST. This opened the war in heaven. Revelation 12:7 . This is the deadly enmity the devil hath infused into our nature, and it is all against Christ. Remember what the Lord Jesus said upon this occasion, John 15:18-19 . Reader! it is very blessed to trace the hatred of the world to its source. For then a child of God can, and a child of God well taught will tell the Lord Jesus, both of his exercises and of the cause of them.
"But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions."
The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions - What are these? Are they not God in covenant with all his promises? Is it not the Lord Jesus with all that belongs to him? Yea, is it not God himself, Father, Sony and Holy Spirit, as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made over to his people in that comprehensive promise, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And God in Christ implies all his fulness in grace here and glory hereafter. Precious, 'precious Jesus! thou art' the purchaser of all those possessions! Holy, holy Father! thou art the giver of them in JESUS! Blessed, blessed Spirit! thou makest over to thy people the whole of these blessings 'by thy quickening, gracious operations! Glory be to the Holy Three in One for these unspeakable mercies! I crave the Reader's indulgence, to allow me to add on this passage a memorandum of mine which I have this day found on this scripture in my Bible, and which I subjoin in this place verbatim.
"This view of the passage was opened to my mind when consulting 'in my little Diary this motto for the day, Sept. 30, 1806. Gracious conclusion of the last morning of the month! Are not the Lord's compassions new every morning? Great indeed is his faithfulness." And the day on which I have now gathered it from my Diary, and inserted it in my Commentary is Feb. 27, 1812. Hitherto the Lord hath helped! What mercies, yea, what a series of mercies between those dates!
"And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. (19) And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. (20) And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. (21) And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S."
This scripture, like the pillar of tire to the children of Israel and Egypt, hath a double aspect. Glory to the Church, ruin to her enemies. Certainly this scripture is looking into gospel days, and perhaps as far as to the final consummation of all things. And all speak the language of the Prophet: Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him. Woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him. In the LORD, and in the LORD CHRIST alone, shall all the house of Israel be justified, and shall glory, Isa_3:10-11; Isa_45:25 .
Reader! we have a very solemn subject in this short but striking prophecy. When we consider the nearness of natural alliance between Jacob and Esau, and behold the bitterness of Edom to his brother, and that from generation to generation; when we look at the source, and trace it to its end; when we call to mind that this is the enmity of nature to grace, the son of the bond-woman to the free; when we contemplate what scripture declares, that there never can, nor ever will be an union between them, in time or to all eternity; bow truly solemn, and how tremendously' awful doth the whole appear!
Reader! let us seek relief from a subject so abundantly distressing, to the sweet assurances given to Israel, that upon mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness. Blessed Lord Jesus! thou art indeed the holiness, and thou art the salvation of thy people. We thank thee, O Lord, for this sweet morsel of scripture prophecy; pointing, as all prophecy doth, to thee, to whom give all the Prophets witness. And oh! Lord, let it be blessed to all thy Church, that all of thine who read it, may through thy Spirit's teaching, be enabled to set to their seal that GOD is true. Farewell, Obadiah, faithful hast thou been in thy testimony. Short as it is, it is sweet. May God the HOLY GHOST be adored for thy ministry, and the ministry of all his servants who have written to us the word of GOD. Give us grace, O Lord, to follow their faith, considering the end of their conversation, JESUS CHRIST, the same yesterday, and today, and forever. .Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Obadiah 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent