“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high” (Obadiah 3).
These words were for Edom (Obadiah 1). They were prideful. The Hebrew word which is translated “pride” means “exaltation” (Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius). It is used in two sense, “In a positive sense… ‘excellence’ or ‘majesty’… The majority of the uses of gaon are negative in that they connote human ‘pride’ as an antonym for humility… Proverbs puts gaon together with arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech” (Vine’s), The word “pride” is connected with arrogance and haughtiness (Proverbs 8:13; 16:18; 21:24), and is contrasted with being humble (Proverbs 11:2; 29:23). God hates this kind of pride, and considers it an abomination (Proverbs 6:16-19; 8:13; 16:5).
Over what were they prideful? (1) They were prideful over their dwelling place, and its natural defenses. They said in their hearts, “Who will bring me down to the ground’ (Obadiah 3). They lived in a place which was easily defended. Homer Hailey comments, “The country of Edom lay south of the Dead Sea in a rugged region known as the Arabah. The mountainous area on either side of the Arabah was noted for its steep canyons, impregnable mountain strongholds, and well-protected coves. In these people felt themselves security against their enemies” (Hailey, A Commentary on The Minor Prophets, p. 32). “There principle city was Petra, one of the most spectacular fortresses of the entire ancient world… a handful of men could have defended it against a whole army” (Coffman, studylight.org). (2) They may have been prideful of their wealth. Their hidden treasures are mentioned (Obadiah 5 -6). Homer Hailey comments, “Edom took pride not only in his physical strength and strategic location, but also in his wealth. Possessing great ore deposits and being located as he was on the crossroads of caravan traffic, he had grown wealthy through trade, through duty charged the caravans that traversed his land, …and through his disposition to plunder weak caravans that passed through” (Hailey, p. 33). “The ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus indicates that the Edomites put their wealth – accumulated from trade – in vaults in the rocks” (NIV Study Bible). (3) They may have been prideful in their treaties and military alliances. Their confederacy is mentioned (Obadiah 7). Homer Hailey suggests that this may have included Moab, Ammon, Gaza, Tyre, and Arabian tribes (Hailey, pp. 33-34). (4) They may have prided themselves in their wise men (Obadiah 8; Jeremiah 49:7), and their mighty men (Obadiah 9).
The LORD’s reply: “Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down” (Obadiah 3-4). They would not escape God’s judgment. [Note: They did not. Gleason Archer, Jr. writes, “As to the fulfillment of this doom upon Edom, it may be fairly inferred from Malachi 1:3-5 that by Malachi’s time (435 B.C.) the Edomites had already been driven from Sela and Mount Seir by the overwhelming forces of the Nabatean Arabs. Secular sources inform us that as early as the reign of Darius I (521-485 B.C.) the Nabateans had pushed Edom out of their ancestral territory and driven them into the deserted regions of Southern Judea… As for dispossessed Edomites, the region in which they settled came to be known as Idumea, where they maintained an independent existence for a time, until they were conquered by… John Hyrcanus (135-105 B.C.), and forcibly converted to the Jewish faith” (Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 310)].
Many today feel secure, even pridefully secure, in their lives. They have nice homes, with security systems. They live in quiet, peaceful neighborhoods, and on gated property. Their country has a strong economy and a strong military – the strongest the world has even seen. They have great medical insurance. They are smart, and in many ways have wisely planned their lives.
However, many of these same people have neglected their relationship with God, or have altogether forgotten Him. This is a serious and fatal mistake. Ultimately, if one is not right with God nothing else matters (Mark 8:36-37). Remember, “Riches do not profit in the days of wrath” (Proverbs 11:4). Riches are not going to spare one. Remember, “Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.” Alliances are not going to spare one. Remember, “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 4). Earthly defenses will not spare one.