Very little is known about Obadiah whose name means “servant of the Lord” or “worshiper of Jehovah.” Historically, Edom had constantly harassed the children of Israel. Prior to the time this book was written (Approximately 853-841 BC), the Edomites had participated in attacks against Judah. Given the dates above, this prophecy comes after the division of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms and before the conquering of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, is a dramatic example of God’s response to anyone who would harm his children. Obadiah brought God’s message of judgement on Edom. God was displeased with both their inward and outward rebellion.
Edom is an example to all the nations who are hostile to God. The Edomites had been cruel to God’s people. They were arrogant and proud, and they took advantage of others misfortunes. Any nation or individual who mistreats those people who obey God will be punished, regardless of how invincible they appear. Similarly Christians, cannot allow themselves to feel so comfortable with their wealth or security that they fail to help God’s people in need.
People today are much the same as those in Obadiah’s days. We see arrogance, envy and dishonesty, and we wonder where it will all end.