Ahab and Jezebel, now there’s a dynamic duo. Ever notice that there aren’t a whole lot of babies girls named Jezebel? Doesn’t take an anthropology degree to figure out why. Here we are now in the time of the heavy duty prophet Elijah. King Ahab and his lovely queen have been seriously thumbing their noses at God, even more so than some of their predecessors, and God sends a severe drought and famine on the land. For three years. And the plants aren’t the only things dying. Par for the course, Ahab doesn’t blame himself, (sound familiar?) but God’s prophet, Elijah.
In the midst of this rivalry, here is a man named Obadiah. Not the prophet with book in the Bible named after him. No, this is just some Joe working in the king’s service. He was in a place of influence, however, as supervisor over the whole palace, so the fact that he was a true worshiper of God makes his position a little politically tricky. For example, he risked his position (and his neck, I’m sure) by hiding and providing for a hundred of God’s true prophets under the king’s nose when Ahab was trying to slaughter them all.
So when Ahab goes out looking for water in a desperate attempt to keep the royal livestock alive (never mind his people), Obadiah was part of the team. When searching, Obadiah comes upon Elijah himself! Elijah instructs this dear man to go back to the king and inform him that Elijah will be visiting the palace shortly.
To put it bluntly, “And now you say, ‘Go and tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’ But as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you away to who knows where. When Ahab comes and cannot find you, he will kill me. Yet I have been a true servant of the LORD all my life.”
A few thoughts:
- Bravery doesn’t mean no fear, and it doesn’t give way to foolishness either. Jesus Himself tells us to “count the cost” before making a commitment. Obadiah knew the potential outcome of this obedience, and it wasn’t just being demoted to latrine duty.
- Elijah (and God, by representation) was not put out by Obadiah’s concerns. God is not shocked by our misgivings, by our hesitation, by our questions. Obedience is still expected, but grace is given in many different forms to accomplish the mission, as it was in Obadiah’s situation.
Lastly, it’s amazing to me how God places some of His servants to be in influential places of power within the secular, even wicked, world. Reference Daniel, Esther, Moses, to name a few. But that’s fodder for another whole essay!
Thanks for readin’!! –dawnlizjones
1 Kings 18:11,12 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt) (Kindle Locations 19719-19722). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.