Obadiah’s name, meaning “worshipper of Yahweh,” offers an interesting counterpoint to the message of judgment he pronounced on Edom, Judah’s neighbor to the southeast. As a worshipper of Yahweh, Obadiah placed himself in a position of humility before the Lord; he embraced his lowly place before the almighty God.
That God sent a man named “worshipper of Yahweh” to the people of Edom was no mistake. Edom had been found guilty of pride before the Lord (Obadiah 1:3). They had thought themselves greater than they actually were; great enough to mock, steal from, and even harm God’s chosen people. But the “Lord GOD,” a name Obadiah used to stress God’s sovereign power over the nations, will not stand idly by and let His people suffer forever (1:1). Through Obadiah, God reminded Edom of their poor treatment of His people (1:12–14) and promised redemption, not to the Edomites but to the people of Judah (1:17–18). The nation of Edom, which eventually disappeared into history, remains one of the prime examples of the truth found in Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, / And a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
How do I apply this? Obadiah’s prophecy focuses on the destructive power of pride. It reminds us of the consequences of living in a self-serving manner, of following through on our own feelings and desires without considering their impact on those around us. Do you struggle to set aside your own wants and desires for those of God and others? Though such pride has been part of the lives of fallen human beings since the tragedy of the fall in Eden, Obadiah offers us a stark reminder to place ourselves under God’s authority, to subject our appetites to His purposes, and to find our hope in being His people when the restoration of all things comes. -Chuck Swindoll