In Obadiah Chapter 1, Obadiah spoke about God's judgment on Edom. Edom is a type of our flesh. So this prophecy symbolises the destruction of the flesh. It speaks here about the pride of Edom. "You are proud because you live in those high, inaccessible cliffs. 'Who can ever reach us way up here!' you boast. Don't fool yourselves! Though you soar as high as eagles, and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you plummeting down, says the Lord." (v.3,4).
The flesh always seeks to exalt itself. But God is determined to destroy that pride completely. If thieves came at night and robbed you they would not take everything. But here, "every nook and cranny will be searched and robbed, and every treasure found and taken" (v.6). The application of this for us is that every little corner that is called "flesh" in us, every lust of the flesh, will be totally destroyed and overcome by the power of the Spirit.
Edom was being punished because of the violence that they did to their close relatives, Israel, because in the time of Israel's greatest need, when they were being taken captive, they "deserted Israel in their time of need and stood aloof, refusing to lift a finger to help them when invaders carried off their wealth" (v.10,11). They had acted as if they too were Israel's enemies. Edom did nothing to help Israel.
There are sins of commission as well as sins of omission. Often when we think of sin, we think only of the sins that have been committed. Notice, in the story of the Good Samaritan, that the priest and Levite did not commit any sin. They did not beat up the wounded man. Their sin was that they did not lift a finger to help that needy man. Do we realise that not helping a needy person is a sin? That is a sin of omission. Edom did NOT do what they should have done - and the Lord took it seriously. Edom's second sin was that they gloated over Israel's capture (v.12). When something bad happens to somebody you don't like, do you feel happy? That is sin. We are not to rejoice over someone else's misfortune. But that was not all. Edom attacked those helpless Israelites and cut them down at the crossroads (v.14). They cooperated with Israel's enemies. Finally, the Lord spoke about the restoration of Israel. Almost all the prophets spoke about restoration. "Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape" one day (v.17). It will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance. At that time Israel will become a flaming fire for the Lord, and Edom a field of dry stubble. "Deliverers will come to Jerusalem and rule all Edom (the flesh). And the Lord shall be King!"(v.21). Today, God has called us to be those deliverers, proclaiming to God's backslidden people, "Behold your King," and inviting them to come back to Him.
What was the cause of Edom's fall? "The pride of your heart has deceived you" (v.3). When we are proud, we open ourselves to spiritual deception - because pride is the very nature of Satan, the deceiver. The moment you become proud of something - good looks, intelligence, spirituality, Bible knowledge, anything - immediately the devil holds your hand and says, "You and I are in fellowship now." Jesus Christ, on the other hand, was the humblest Man that walked on earth; and the moment you humble yourself, you come into fellowship with Him.
Pride is more dangerous than adultery because adultery is an outward sin - and sins that are outward and obvious are not as serious as sins that are hidden. Obadiah warns those who are complacent in their pride that they are deceived. Let us learn from his brief exhortation to be concerned about those around us, who are in captivity to their flesh, and to proclaim to them that Jesus can deliver them completely.