Pride and Prejudice


Lord, I rejoice in Your victory, I boast in Your strength. Keep my heart humble before You today.


Read: OBADIAH 1–14

1 The vision of Obadiah.

This is what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom—

We have heard a message from the Lord:
An envoy was sent to the nations to say,
“Rise, let us go against her for battle”—
2 “See, I will make you small among the nations;
you will be utterly despised.
3 The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks
and make your home on the heights,
you who say to yourself,
‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’
4 Though you soar like the eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,”
declares the Lord.
5 “If thieves came to you,
if robbers in the night—
oh, what a disaster awaits you!—
would they not steal only as much as they wanted?
If grape pickers came to you,
would they not leave a few grapes?
6 But how Esau will be ransacked,
his hidden treasures pillaged!
7 All your allies will force you to the border;
your friends will deceive and overpower you;
those who eat your bread will set a trap for you,
but you will not detect it.
8 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“will I not destroy the wise men of Edom,
those of understanding in the mountains of Esau?
9 Your warriors, Teman, will be terrified,
and everyone in Esau’s mountains
will be cut down in the slaughter.
10 Because of the violence against your brother Jacob,
you will be covered with shame;
you will be destroyed forever.
11 On the day you stood aloof
while strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
12 You should not gloat over your brother
in the day of his misfortune,
nor rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their destruction,
nor boast so much
in the day of their trouble.
13 You should not march through the gates of my people
in the day of their disaster,
nor gloat over them in their calamity
in the day of their disaster,
nor seize their wealth
in the day of their disaster.
14 You should not wait at the crossroads
to cut down their fugitives,
nor hand over their survivors
in the day of their trouble.
15 “The day of the Lord is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.
16 Just as you drank on my holy hill,
so all the nations will drink continually;
they will drink and drink
and be as if they had never been.
17 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance;
it will be holy,
and Jacob will possess his inheritance.
18 Jacob will be a fire
and Joseph a flame;
Esau will be stubble,
and they will set him on fire and destroy him.
There will be no survivors
from Esau.”
The Lord has spoken.
19 People from the Negev will occupy
the mountains of Esau,
and people from the foothills will possess
the land of the Philistines.
They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria,
and Benjamin will possess Gilead.
20 This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan
will possess the land as far as Zarephath;
the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
will possess the towns of the Negev.
21 Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion
to govern the mountains of Esau.
And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.


If you’ve ever experienced sibling rivalry yourself or seen it played out in others, you will know how devastating it can be. Obadiah—the shortest book in the Old Testament—reflects the long-standing conflict between the descendants of Jacob and Esau (Amos 1:11,12; Ezek. 25:12–14; 35).
God’s message through Obadiah is addressed to the Edomites who are condemned not just for gloating over Judah’s fall at the hands of the Babylonians, but for taking advantage of them (11–14). Edom has been proud of their independence and security, but the Lord will judge them, using their own allies, who will plunder their wealth and drive them from their land. Obadiah’s message stands as a powerful warning against misplaced pride and prejudice—personally and nationally.

But more than this, with God’s people perhaps still reeling from the destruction of Jerusalem and the loss of the Temple and the king, this prophecy might well have offered hope that God’s purposes would stand. Had he forgotten his covenant with them? Would his promises to Jacob still stand? God is clear: he will be judge of the nations; he will be faithful to his people.



How does God’s response to Edom echo Mary’s (Luke 1:46–55) song about God raising the low and deposing the high?



Lord, I know that “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corin. 13:6). Help me to truly love others.


Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider