“Unit 31: Day 1, Obadiah,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 31: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
Obadiah prophesied of the destruction of the Edomites, a consequence of their pride and mistreatment of the Israelites. He also prophesied of the restoration of Israel and of people becoming saviors on Mount Zion.
Read and ponder the following scenarios, and then write how the person’s attitude and actions could bring him or her unhappiness:
A young man is very intelligent and talented and feels that he can succeed in life without the Lord’s help.
A young woman continues to associate with a group of friends despite her parents’ concerns that these friends do not really care about her and do not have her best interests in mind.
A young woman feels resentful when a classmate receives an award and recognition that she hoped to get. Instead of thinking about her classmate’s positive attributes, this young woman focuses only on her classmate’s apparent flaws.
As you study Obadiah 1:1–16, look for a principle that can help you know how to avoid the negative attitudes and actions described in these scenarios.
We do not know much about the prophet Obadiah except that he may have prophesied after the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. (see Bible Dictionary, “Obadiah”). Read Obadiah 1:1, looking for the nation the Lord addressed through the prophet Obadiah.
The land of Edom was southeast of the kingdom of Judah, and it was inhabited by the descendants of Esau, the son of Isaac and the twin brother of Jacob (or Israel). The Edomites were, therefore, related to the Israelites. Despite their close kinship, however, mutual hatred existed between the Edomites and the Israelites.
Read Obadiah 1:3–4, looking for what had deceived the Edomites.
What had their pride led them to believe?
The reference to dwelling “in the clefts of the rock” in verse 3 refers to Edomite cities and dwellings that were built on mountainous land and ridges and even carved into rock cliffs. Situated high above the ground, the Edomites felt secure and safe from enemy attack.
According to verse 4, what did the Lord say He would do to the Edomites?
Based on what you have learned about the Edomites, complete the following principle: Yielding to can cause us to be deceived. Consider writing this truth in the margin of your scriptures next to Obadiah 1:3–4.
- Reread the scenarios from the beginning of the lesson. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How is each scenario an example of ways pride can cause us to be deceived?
What are other examples of how yielding to pride can cause us to be deceived and misguide us?
Read the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, looking for other examples of how pride can cause us to be deceived:
“Pride is the great sin of self-elevation. …
“This sin has many faces. It leads some to revel in their own perceived self-worth, accomplishments, talents, wealth, or position. They count these blessings as evidence of being ‘chosen,’ ‘superior,’ or ‘more righteous’ than others. …
“For others, pride turns to envy: they look bitterly at those who have better positions, more talents, or greater possessions than they do. They seek to hurt, diminish, and tear down others in a misguided and unworthy attempt at self-elevation. When those they envy stumble or suffer, they secretly cheer” (“Pride and the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 56).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
In what way are we deceived when we think that we are better than other people or we try to find fault with others to make ourselves appear better than they are?
What can you do to avoid putting yourself above others or seeking to tear others down?
In Obadiah 1:5–9 we read that Obadiah prophesied that the land of Edom would be plundered and conquered. He also prophesied that the nations the Edomites had allied with would betray and attack them. Read Obadiah 1:10, looking for why the Lord said Edom would be “cut off,” or destroyed. The phrase “thy brother Jacob” refers to Israel.
How do you think the phrase “thy brother Jacob” might have helped the Edomites understand how they should treat the Israelites?
Read Obadiah 1:11–14, looking for how the Edomites had treated the Jews during the destruction of Jerusalem.
Read Obadiah 1:15, looking for how the Lord would judge the Edomites for their cruel actions. The phrase “the day of the Lord is near” refers to the judgments the Lord would send upon Edom, and the word heathen refers to those who were not Israelites.
How would you explain the meaning of the phrase “as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee”?
Ponder the following questions:
Have you ever used a life preserver, rope, first aid kit, or fire extinguisher to help save or rescue another person?
Has anyone ever used one of these objects to save or rescue you?
As you study Obadiah 1:17–21, look for a truth that describes one way you can help save others.
Read Obadiah 1:17, looking for what Obadiah prophesied would happen on Mount Zion. In this verse Mount Zion can refer to the city of Jerusalem and its temple.
This prophecy can have more than one fulfillment. Anciently, the prophecy was fulfilled when the Jews returned to their promised lands and rebuilt Jerusalem and the temple (see Ezra 1–7). According to modern prophets, this prophecy also points to the gathering of Israel, the establishment of Zion, and temple work in the latter days.
Ponder how the temple provides deliverance for God’s children.
Obadiah 1:18–20 has multiple meanings. Obadiah prophesied that Edom would be destroyed and the Israelites would again possess the land their enemies had taken from them. Because of the people’s wickedness and lasting hatred toward the Israelites, Edom, also known as Idumea, became a symbol for the wicked world (see D&C 1:36). Additionally, Obadiah 1:18–20 may refer to the restoration of Israel. “Mount Zion, a symbol for deliverance and holiness (see v. 17), will be the inheritance of the ‘house of Jacob,’ whereas the ‘house of Esau’ will be stubble, fit only to be burned. The ‘house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame … and they shall kindle in them [Esau], and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau’ (v. 18)” (Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 259).
Read Obadiah 1:21, looking for who would come up on Mount Zion.
The word saviours in this verse can refer to a remnant of Israel who would later be saved from captivity in Babylon, return to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, and eventually “judge the mount of Esau” (Obadiah 1:21), or the Edomites. The word saviour also can refer to one who saves, rescues, or delivers. Jesus Christ is the Savior because He saved and delivered us from sin and death, which we could not do for ourselves.
Read the following statement from the Prophet Joseph Smith, looking for ways in which members of the Church can act as saviors on mount Zion: “But how are they [the Saints; members of the Church] to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 473).
From the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, we can learn the following principle: We become saviors on Mount Zion as we complete family history and temple work for our deceased family members.
Ponder how you are helping accomplish the Savior’s work when you participate in family history and temple work?
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are your thoughts and feeling about helping to rescue and save family members who died without the blessings or ordinances of the restored gospel?
Have you and your family been blessed by acting as saviors in behalf of your ancestors by doing family history and temple work? If so, describe how you have been blessed. If you have not yet participated in this work, describe some things you could do to begin to receive the blessings of doing family history and temple work.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Obadiah and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: