Sibling rivalry is sometimes as innocent as the competition between brothers who are NFL quarterbacks or sisters who are tennis champions.
But on other occasions, sibling rivalry can be tragic. Consider the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, twin sons of Isaac.
In the womb, they struggled with each other. In life, they fought. In death, their descendants became two nations in perpetual animosity – Israel and Edom.
Saul, David, and Solomon all battled the Edomites, and Edom committed many sins against the Israelites, especially during the Babylonian invasion.
They rejoiced when Jerusalem fell, not realizing they too would be swept away by Babylon a few years later.
Obadiah’s brief prophecy was a bittersweet consolation for Jews who remained in Judah after Babylon had crushed their nation.
He apparently wrote his book after the destruction of Jerusalem but before the invasion of Edom.
His twenty-one verses fall into two parts:
- The first fourteen describe God’s judgment on Edom for her treachery against Israel, and
- The remaining verses give a description of the coming day of the Lord when God will judge all nations and establish Israel as the center of His kingdom on earth.
Obadiah tells us that God will deal justly with those who harm His people.
But his book is also a subtle reminder of the importance of family loyalty.
We should do our best to live in peace with those we love. As Psalm 133 puts it, how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”
Those who are cruel like the proud leaders of Edom will be judged, but the nation of Israel will eventually be restored in triumph.
“For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions” (Oba 1:15,17).
When you feel mistreated by others, leave it with God who sees everything; and rest your case with Him who deals justly with His people.