Obadiah: God's Anger with Babylon and Edom

Obadiah  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The Lord needs no more. He has a word for Edom because of this, and He utters it through Obadiah. For God’s controversy with the Gentiles is this, that in the day when He was angry with His people, they had helped forward the affliction. This we read in Zechariah 1:1515And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. (Zechariah 1:15). How much more, then, may we expect to find him angry with Edom, Jacob’s brother, for looking on him in the day of his calamity!
And the Lord of hosts is jealous for Jerusalem with great jealousy. Because Zion is His set on earth; He has linked His name with Israel. “Israel is the lot of His inheritance.” He is “the God of Israel.” Contempt of that people is, therefore contempt of His glory and defiance of His power. Accordingly, Babylon and Edom may well be put together, as they are in Psalm 137:7-87Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. (Psalm 137:7‑8). Edom rejoiced in the ruin which Babylon wrought. Nimrod and Esau may be tracked in the same field, hunters before the Lord; the one the bold defier of the God of judgment, the other the profane despiser of the God of blessing. Babylon is never restored, neither is Edom. The judgment of the millstone awaits the one, perpetual desolations the other (Jer. 51; Ezek. 35). Nimrod of the loins of Ham, and the circumcised Esau, who comes even of Abraham according to the flesh, may lie together as in the same pit.
Surely we may say again that this laying of hands upon Israel, this despite and hatred of Zion, whether by the Assyrian, by Babylon, by Edom, or any other, is a bold act, bespeaking contempt and defiance of God Himself, because God was with Israel. As Ezekiel expresses it, “the Lord was there.” (See Ezek. 35:1010Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the Lord was there: (Ezekiel 35:10).) And this fact the enemies of Israel ought to have felt. Even had they been employed as the Lord’s rod upon His people, they should have executed their commission under the sense of what Israel was or had been; just in the spirit of the mariners and shipmaster, when they were casting Jonah into the sea. But this was not so. The Assyrian had once said, “Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?” The Chaldean had “brought the vessels of the house of God into the treasure-house of his god.” And now the Edomite “entered into the gate of God’s people in the day of their calamity.” And surely all this was after the pattern of apostate Egypt in the first days, who said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?”
Thus it has been, and thus will it be, as the judgment of the Son of Man in the day of His throne of glory lets us learn: “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it not to Me” (Matt. 25:4040And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)).