The Divine Purpose in Relation to Humanity
Obadiah 1:1
The vision of Obadiah. Thus said the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumor from the LORD…

A voice thundering at midnight is the voice of Obadiah. It was the voice of a stranger. His age, his country, his parents, his cradle, his grave, are all unknown. Yet his was a prophet's voice, — deep as the boom of thunder, and penetrating as the lightning it fell upon the fortressed host of Idumea, and destruction was in every shivering note. He had been standing on some high pinnacle, on which he hoard a "rumour from the Lord," and with the fidelity of incorruptible righteousness he breathed that fiery rumour across the doomed nation, — the sword was bared against Edom, and whoso sought to turn it aside was cleft by the gleaming blade. The prophecy is short but terrible in its fulness. It is a single shout, but the cry rends the rocks of Edom. The Edomites were famed for sagacity, prudence, and general mental skill, but God here comes forth (ver. 8) as the monarch of mind, and says He will destroy their wisdom and understanding. The high priests of wisdom come together to take counsel against the Lord, and the Lord blows upon their brain, and their counsels are confounded; the Lord touches their tongue and they babble the jargon of insanity. Looking at this vision as affording a glimpse of Divine purpose in relation to humanity, we may take our stand on two distinct facts.

1. Divine superintendence of human history. He is a shallow historian who records only the undulations of the social, political, and ecclesiastical surface. As a student of the universe, I wish to know not only the stupendous, palpable existences — the sun, moon, stars, seas, mountains, — but I wish to know their birth-forces. He who takes me to the earliest germ of national life is to me the true historian; but he who finds that earliest germ in anything short of Divine volition is unfit to guide me through the black ravines, or the temple corridors, or the mountain grandeurs of the world's entrancing story. In all Bible history we find God upon the circle.

2. Divine sanctification of human history. This vision of Obadiah is summed up in words which might well form the concluding sentence of the history of the whole world. These words are: "And the kingdom shall be the Lord's." As we look at this as the ultimate object of Divine government we see that a great sanctifying process is in reality continually operating in human history. God is working in the midst of her moral gloom, and He will work until the last shadow has for ever departed. We see but a scattered and struggling light; we hear but a voice here and there; we wonder how the heavens can become flooded with splendour, and how the air can be filled with one glad and undying song; and we should despair could we not lay our trembling hand upon the recorded oath of Omnipotence, and see in the van the "dyed garments," and hear at midnight the war-shout of Immanuel. This leads us to the inspiring truth, that all our hopes are founded in Jesus, and all our energies sustained by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

WEB: The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord Yahweh says about Edom. We have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, "Arise, and let's rise up against her in battle.

God and Bad Men
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