Obadiah is the shortest of the prophetic works at only one chapter and 21 verses. The name Obadiah in Hebrew means “worshipper of Yahweh” or “Servant of Yahweh.” There are 13 “Obadiahs” in the Old Testament, and there seems to be disagreement if any of those is this Obadiah or not. There is also disagreement as to the time frame of his prophecy, but his prophecy is directed specifically toward Edom, who are the people descended from Jacob’s brother Esau. The Lord even refers to the country as Esau for the rest of the chapter.
It appears the Edom thought they were in a pretty good place and impregnable. As if no army could take them down. Their confidence was misplaced. The antagonism between the original Jacob and Esau would go down through history, and eventually Esau/Edom would be destroyed for the many horrible things done against their brother Israelites. They would prove to be not impregnable at all. In fact, there are no descendants of Edom that have survived to our day, as the Lord predicted through Obadiah.
11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”[ 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
And Malachi tells us Edom boasts that they can rebuild their ruins and withstand the wrath of God, but that’s not in God’s cards. God chose Jacob and his descendants, and not Esau and his. Not because of anything either did, before they were born or after, because Jacob was no peach. Which points to God choosing us in Christ not because of who we are, but very much in spite of it. As Paul says a little later in Romans, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” This is why I am a Reformed Calvinist Christian; I do not place God’s plans at the whim of frail, fallen, and self-centered sinful creatures. God’s calling is not only unable to be changed (irrevocable), it is also efficacious. It will accomplish its end, period, which is ultimately the salvation of the people he has chosen. Thank God it’s up to him and not me!
This temporal destruction of Edom/Esau as usual points beyond the physical fulfillment to it’s eternal/spiritual counterpart. The last verse indicates that because this little book ends with these words: “And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.” Obadiah is not referring to some little plot of land in the Middle East. Of course, I don’t know what Obadiah was thinking when he wrote the word kingdom, but since it’s all about Jesus, the kingdom points to an eternal kingdom when all the Lord’s enemies, including death itself, will be swept under his feet. That is our ultimate hope.