Obadiah 1:1 (ESV)
The vision of Obadiah.
Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:
We have heard a report from the Lord,
and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Rise up! Let us rise against her for battle!”
“Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom:” – A prominent recurring theme throughout the whole of the Bible is that God is the God of everything. He is not some regional deity invented by the Jews or the Christians to help primitive ignorant people understand life. God is the God of all things who has revealed Himself for all the world to see.
Obadiah brings a word from God to the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who have their own gods, their own religions, their own system of beliefs. But there is only one God and He is the God of all the peoples. They had sinned against God’s people and God is going to hold them accountable.
Their sin is the sin that all people commit. They think they can live without God. They see their safety in their defences (v. 3), in themselves. Whatever gods they have cannot stop the judgement of the one true God from coming down on them.
There is a powerful Gospel lesson to be learned here. The peoples of the world who faithfully serve their gods cannot be protected by those gods if the One true God sets to judge them. They have sinned against God and God holds them accountable for their behaviour. The only hope for them is the Son of God who came to earth, lived a sinless life, died a death as a substitute for sinners from all the nations of the world, rose from the dead and is returning to set the world right and finally rescue all those who have faith in Him.
The predominating view in the world today that all religions have their truths and all lead to God or gods or eternal life or a place of safety – is deceived. People, all people, need the benefits of the once for all sacrifice for sinners that was offered up by Jesus Christ on the cross. People who call themselves Christians and yet maintain that God will save people who have been faithful to their gods, false or not, are simply wrong and such philosophy condemns people to eternal damnation.
It is a grand insult to Jesus to maintain that His sacrifice is not necessary for all people. It is no mercy that changes the truth into a lie in order to give the belief that faith in Jesus does not matter. “You are safe regardless of what you believe”, is a doctrine from hell.
There is only one God. He is the righteous judge over all the peoples of the world. All people are sinners and are in danger of judgement. But the God who is over all the nations is also the God who in mercy has offered His Son for all the nations. Jesus is for them. He did not just die for people from Christian backgrounds. He did not die just for Jews or those who follow the covenants of the Old Testament. He died for all. Obadiah ends with this prophecy:
Obadiah 1:20 (ESV)
The exiles of this host of the people of Israel
shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
shall possess the cities of the Negeb.
This does not mean that Israel, as a nation, is going to one day triumph over the Middle East. It means that those who have faith in Jesus Christ, the true children of Abraham, are going to possess the earth – not because they are strong and not because they deserve it. Simply because they have been the recipients of a great mercy.
That great mercy is for all people from all the nations for all eternity. What an incentive to give the Gospel to all the nations of the world!