"It is the righteous purpose of God, not the evil will of men, that determines history." NKJV Commentary on Obadiah
Obadiah vs.12, 15 "You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction...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."
Obadiah is a very short book. - only 21 verses. But every story in the Bible whether long or short displays the glory, power, and sovereignty of our God.
Obadiah was a man who God used to bring a message of doom to the nation of Edom, and a message of promise to Israel. Obadiah's beloved Jerusalem had been captured and ransacked by the powerful Babylonians. Edom, the neighbors to the east and relatives of the people of Israel, had helped the Babylonians conquer Israel. We see clear demonstrations of this in verses 13 and 14. "You (Edom) should not...seize their wealth...You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble."
But mind you, even the defeat of Jerusalem to the Babylonians was God's plan. Jeremiah 15:6 "You (Jerusalem) have forsaken Me." says the LORD. Jeremiah 21:10 "For I have set My face against this city (Jerusalem) for adversity and not for good," says the LORD. "It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire."
The righteous purpose of God is that His people worship Him in truth and in spirit. This is the way to life and peace. But the Israelites had forgotten God, turned their back on Him and were heading deeper and deeper into Satan's territory.
Whether we like it or not, suffering turns us around, stops us short, and makes us despair of ourselves turning us to God for help. So God sent an army (the Babylonians) to conquer His people (the Jews) and Edom rejoiced in their destruction. But God does not leave His people without hope and promise. The Jews would repent and return. Jeremiah 30:10 "Therefore do not fear...says the LORD, "Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar," "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness..." Jer.31:2
Back to Obadiah - Edom is now going to get his 'come-uppings'. Judgment time! God does not forget. As Edom had done to Israel now God promises the same treatment will happen to them. And it did. In God's great plan He was able to punish His own people in order to restore them and at the same time punish the nations in order to remove them. What God is doing in the world is always right, always just, always on time.
You know why I need Obadiah? Because I just finished reading about the torture of some men, women, and children who are my Christian brothers and sisters in a Muslim country. I put down the article and cried out: "God, why aren't you doing something? Bring judgment on those wicked men!" I was angry and sad. Obadiah reminds me, He will! There is not one moment in the day where God is passive. He is causing His perfect plan to progress second by second throughout the world. Nothing escapes Him.
Give thanks to God that we live under His mercy. When an injustice happens to us His plan is still being accomplished.
"When the church suffers at the hands of God's enemies, she needs to return to the prophecy of Obadiah and renew her faith in the just God revealed there. He cares for His persecuted people, and behind their present circumstances He is always at work for them." NKJV Commentary