Build your SECURITY in GOD alone, NOT in self-made DEFENSES: "The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?' Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," says the Lord. (Obadiah 1:3-4)
Prophet Obadiah was a relatively unknown prophet from Judah whose message was addressed to Edom, a nation situated in the mountainous region south of the Dead Sea. The book of Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament but tells us the long story spanning the timeline from the early period of Genesis even to the time of the New Testament. Frederick Tatford has made the following assessment of the prophecy of Obadiah: “The prophecy of Obadiah is unique in the character of its contents. It is a book of unmitigated condemnation, unrelieved by any suggestion of compassion or hope.”
What began in the womb of Rebekah as a rivalry between the twins Esau and Jacob (see Gen. 25:21–26) matured into a long-standing feud between two nations— Edom and Israel. The prophecy of Obadiah is against the Edomites, who were descendants of Esau and bitter enemies of the people of Israel. They are pictured as having rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem. When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, the Edomites rejoiced and helped the enemy instead of helping their brethren (see Psalms 137:7–9).
After behaving treacherously towards Israel, the Edomites were seemingly secure within the stony clefts of Petra, their capital city. This city was located in a mountain stronghold some 5,000 feet above sea level. In the Bible, this city is referred to as Sela, meaning ‘rock’ (Judges 1:36; 2 Kings 14:7; Isaiah 16:1; 42:11). This city could be approached only by a narrow pass that could be defended easily against invaders making it an almost impregnable fortress. This produced an arrogant sense of security for the people of Edom as they felt invincible living “in the clefts of the rocks” (v. 3).
Edom’s pride came from two sources: the security of their location (v. 3b) and the inaccessibility of their location (v. 3c). With their capital city securely protected, the Edomites boasted, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” God announced that He would be the One who would destroy them. Their self-exaltation led to God’s determination to bring them down (v. 4).
What were the sins of the people of Edom? Pride stands at the top of the list and God hates pride. The people of Edom boasted in their high and haughty position by taunting their enemies: ‘Who will bring me down?’ She reckoned herself secure in the clefts of the rock, but her trust in earthly fortifications proved deadly and ultimately tragic.
It is pride to believe we are invulnerable and to place our trust in any other than God. He will humble those who exalt themselves in this way. Today, let us ask God to reveal any areas in which our hearts are deceived because of pride. Let us exalt God always. Let us glorify God for any security and success that we experience every day. Above all, let us remember to build our security in God alone and not in self-made defenses!