20070221 Bible Study for the Day- Obadiah

Introduction to Obadiah

The Book of Obadiah reveals God’s will through the prophet Obadiah against the nation of Edom. Nothing is known of Obadiah from the Bible other than the book itself, and significant questions as to who wrote it and when and where the book was written exist.

As with all Bible studies, commentaries or guided studies are useful resources to help keep the study on track. A good place to start is with the People’s Bible Commentary available from the Northwest Publishing House of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

BibleGatway.com is the source of the Bible references used in these Bible studies.

This study is part of the three-year Bible study available from the WELS and begun on 1 January 2006 on this weblog.

Context for Obadiah

Obadiah preaches destruction against Edom, the nation descended from Esau, because that nation refused to help Israel in its time of crisis. That treachery brought about God’s judgment.


In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells us the story of four people. We obviously remember the story of the Samaritan and the man who was attacked and in need of help, but we often forget about the story of the priest and the Levite.

Jesus also tells us that He will place in our lives work which will utilize the talents He has given us for the furtherance of His message and our faith. Both the priest and the Levite failed to act on an opportunity God gave them to do what He wanted them to do.

In the same way, the Edomites, descendents of Esau, Jacob’s brother and Isaac’s son, failed to take the opportunity when God presented it to them to support Israel in its time of need. This is important because Esau heard the same message of promise that Jacob did, but unlike Jacob and his descendents of Israel, the Edomites rejected God’s promise and His chosen people.

The result of such rejection was to remove themselves from God’s grace and thereby subject themselves to the full force of God’s judgment. This is the same thing that Jesus warned the Pharisees- the priests and the Levites- against in the parable of the Good Samaritan and other places.

The moral for us here is simple. God gives us faith for our salvation, and He expects us to do something with it. We have been entrusted with a precious gift, but this gift, like the fire that it is so often compared to, is one to be shared through action. Inaction smothers the flame of our faith just as surely as sinful indulgence. If we snuff our the flame of our faith, what hope do we have of reigniting it?

The warning is clear then. Inaction is not an option.


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