“Though you soar like the eagle,
and your nest is set among the stars,
From there I will bring you down—
oracle of the LORD.” Obadiah 1:4
Speaking in metaphor, Obadiah addresses the Edomites who lived among the cliffs and mountaintops around the Dead Sea. They might live in high places but Obadiah speaks judgement upon them and claims God will take them down a notch or two.
They helped the Babylonians destroy the city of Jerusalem and participated in selling their neighbours, the Israelites, into slavery. So God is going to smite them (or something like that) says Obadiah, the servant of God.
That’s the bare story.
It’s hard to know what to do with these judgement oracles where prophets speak in the name of God promising doom and destruction. It’s not the God of my experience and I struggle to stay with the story but I believe time is a circle and that there is something here for me to hear.
I went around and around with Obadiah’s terse 21 verse oracle. Then it dawned on me.
Obadiah was pronouncing judgement on the Edomites but he was preaching to the Israelites whose people were harmed and betrayed by their neighbours. It seems that the God of Obadiah’s experience shows caring and presence by promising to bring low the Edomites and punish them.
I don’t think that’s how it works but I get the sentiment.
Perhaps we could fine tune our listening to hear the call of the Obadiah’s of today who speak for those harmed and betrayed, silenced and forgotten, wounded and abused.
We might hear doom. And beyond doom, it might change us.
Listen. Who are the Obadiah’s of today?