History records the fall of Edom only about five years after Judah fell to the Babylonians.
Ensconced in their heights, Edom believed it had little reason to help Judah face the coming threat of Babylon. That Edom was related to Judah (since Jacob and Esau were brothers), produced little or no concern for the southern kingdom. They were unconcerned.
It is clear from the verses of Obadiah that God was displeased by Edom’s conduct. Because of Edom’s arrogance and apathy, they would give answer to God.
Obadiah wrote, “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” (Obadiah 3 ESV). The pride of arrogant Edom had deceived it into thinking things that were not true.
The deception contributed to Edom’s second mistake: apathy. The word comes from two Greek words, “a,” a negative particle, meaning, “not;” and “pathos,” or “feeling.” So, the word means “not feeling.” Edom simply didn’t care the Babylonians were coming. Obadiah wrote, “On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them,” (Obadiah 11).
Apathy can cause dreadful problems. An example of this is the smoker who ignores a nagging cough until a chest x-ray proves the existence of advanced lung cancer. Apathy dismisses all concern. Edom should have keenly felt the dangers the Babylonians presented ― it was Babylon that had defeated Assyria, one of the most violent civilizations that had ever lived ― but Edom paid no heed.
How many people have been warned and encouraged to obey the gospel, but for a lifetime, have ignored the warnings? Apathy will result in almost as many lost souls as covetousness.
For its arrogance and apathy, Edom will give and answer to God. “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head,” (Obadiah 15). Edom would be responsible for its conduct.
All are responsible for what they have done. God, through Obadiah, said Edom could expect to pay for its shortsightedness. So it is for all who refuse to obey the truth. Just because some attempt to evade responsibility doesn’t mean they will skate by unscathed. All will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).
God’s word is given to us so we may learn from the examples of others (Romans 15:9). We should learn from Obadiah, and from Edom, that arrogance and apathy carry a price and that an answer will be required one day.