God With Us
There is a common misconception that God is different between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The perception of God in the Old Testament is that He is very harsh and judgmental whereas in the New Testament, God is very loving and full of grace. One of the reasons for this misconception might be that God seems detached from the affairs of His people in the Old Testament but present in the New Testament through the person of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Obadiah helps to demonstrate that this is not the case.
The book of Obadiah opens with a divine communication to the prophet Obadiah. It says, “The vision of Obadiah, Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom…” (Ob. 1:1a) The message originates from the Lord God. In the ESV and NASB translations, the word “God” is all-capitalized. When we see this occurrence, the translators are indicating that the Hebrew uses the personal name for God—Yahweh. Thus, the verse is better translated from the Hebrew as, “Thus says the Lord Yahweh concerning Edom.” By using God’s personal name, Yahweh, Obadiah indicates that what follows is a decree from a personal God rather than from a God who is detached from the people.
The book of Obadiah adds its voice to the chorus of others throughout the Old Testament. Consistently, we notice that the phrase, “Thus says the Lord” is followed by the specific name for God, “Yahweh,” or has a relational term attached to it: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel” (1 Kgs. 11:31), “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews” (Ex. 9:1), “Thus says the Lord, who created the heavens” (Isa. 45:18), etc. The Old Testament witness is that God has never been detached from His people but has always been personally present through every situation.
We should take great comfort from this truth. God has never changed. He is present with His people—comforting, guiding, loving, and correcting. This is what is presented in the New Testament and the Old Testament. Trust in Him. Turn to Him. He is Immanuel, “God with us.”