Obadiah and Our God of Humility
Obadiah Says to Worship Our God of Humility
“The pride of your heart has deceived you …; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” says the Lord.”
—Obadiah 3-4, emphasis added
Obadiah (853-840 B.C.) was a contemporary with Elijah (875-848 B.C.), Micah (865-830 B.C.), and Jehu (855-840 B.C.). As A.M. Hodgkin writes, “Between the Gulf of Akaba and the Dead Sea lies a range of precipitous red sandstone heights, known as
The story of Esau and Jacob is that of twin brothers, sons of Isaac and Rebekah. They were not identical twins; actually, they were opposites (see Genesis 25:24-34). Esau despised his birthright. The man who had the birthright was in contact with God; he was the priest of his family; he was the man who had a covenant from God; the man who had a relationship with God. In effect Esau said, “I would rather have a bowl of soup than have a relationship with God.”
Having seen Esau in the first book of the Old Testament, look now at the last book of the Old Testament and read this strange language: “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated …” (Malachi 1:2-3a). This is a strange thing for God to say: “I loved Jacob and I hated Esau.” The explanation for that is in the little book of Obadiah where God said to
Christ is the model of humility. James Boice points out, “But there is this to add. It is true that the sin of
The other king was Jesus. He was the King of Kings, One who, according to the flesh, was the natural heir to David’s throne and who, according to His divine nature, was the Supreme King over all the kings of this earth. But He did not look like a king. He stood in humble clothing. He had been rejected. Within hours He was to die a felon’s death. If Jesus had wished, He could have called forth legions of angels who would have vindicated His cause instantly and have swept the usurper Herod from the throne. But Jesus did not want the throne in that way. He did not want the throne until you and I could share it with Him. To make that possible He would die.
Herod said, “What does it profit me?” Jesus said, “What can I do that will be the greatest possible benefit to My brethren?” God vindicated Jesus. Jesus went to the cross. He died. But His death was followed by a resurrection, and today He lives to enable those who believe in Him to behave as He did and bring a true, supernatural brotherhood to this world. For his part, Herod went on with his revelry but soon was banished to
This is the choice before us: go Herod’s way or Jesus’ way. We cannot do both. God wants to break us of pride because pride competes with God for control and glory. He therefore offers us actions that promote the growth of humility in our lives. I call these the “Three R’s of Spiritual Growth”:
Refocus: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10).
Remove: … Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly …, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Titus 2:12-14).
Request God’s humility: … Younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6).
Pride is the root of all sin, but humility is the root of all virtue. Pride leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18), but humility brings blessings and honor from the Lord. Which category most represents your life’s present testimony?
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