Our text remains 1 Kings 18:1-17.
“So he said, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?… 11 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here”’! 12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the Lord will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth… 14 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here.”’ He will kill me!”” (1 Kings 18 :9-14)
Il we are honest we can all understand Obadiah’s viewpoint. Really, God? Another risk? Now? Things aren’t bad enough? Haven’t I proven myself yet? Why do you keep testing me? This life isn’t supposed to get easier as time goes on? What if…? Such questions sometimes reflect our inner longing for a quiet and peaceful walk of faith. No more battles, stepping out to face the unknown, swimming against the current, taking risks on a divine instruction that makes no human sense. God, could we just postpone the next trial?
Our patient Teacher and all-knowing Father scarcely listens to our pleas for a comfortable and wide road; He gently but firmly keeps us on the narrow way, because untested faith is no faith. He knows better than anyone what the right journey is for each of His children, which classes we ought to take in the school of life and when. Therefore it always comes down to BELIEVING OR NOT that His Word is true and will come to pass, that He will continue to show Himself faithful, that following Him is the sole path to real life, happiness and eternity.
We may not know what our obedience will create; we don’t have to. Let us obey and then witness Almighty God’s work. Obadiah couldn’t fathom that accepting to be Elijah’s messenger would lead to one of the greatest showcasing of God’s power in the Old Testament (1 Kings 18:20-45). He couldn’t imagine it would start a revival in the backslidden nation of Israel and would mark an epic defeat for the kingdom of darkness.
Oh, the power of a simple act of obedience! Wow! Just say what He told you to say. Just to what He told you to do. Just go where He told you to go Bottom line.
It’s about here and now, not elsewhere and back then. It’s not about the visible opposition and adversaries we have, it’s about the sovereign God backing us and sending us out to proclaim the word He whispered to us in the secret place: a word of hope, of peace, of comfort, of truth, of salvation, THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. A word in season for the multitudes of weary men and women wandering and suffering in this broken, dying, lost and corrupt generation.
Elijah reacted with Obadiah the way God does with us; he didn’t condemn the man for his weakness, lack of faith or excuses, etc. He brought the focus back on God and on the need to trust His words:
“Then Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today” (v.15).
It wasn’t about Obadiah nor even Elijah. All this was unfolding because of GOD’s will; He had initiated this new turn of events at His appointed time:
“And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth”” (v.1).
When God was once again the center of Obadiah’s attention, and not his all-consuming sense of self-preservation, he went to his master (v.16).
God didn’t have to use Obadiah, He could have spoken directly to Ahab or made Elijah appear in the palace. But He wanted to grow Obadiah’s faith and testimony and to reveal more of His character.
God also included this story in the Bible for our learning, for our own faith, as we face times of testing and struggles for the sake of Christ. Deal with your heart in God’s presence. In the secret place of prayer, it’s ok, even healthy, to be honest and open with God; but then don’t stop there. Get up and get out and go do what He has told you to. There’s a famine in the land and you have a role to play to see the rain come down and hearts turn back to the one true God who loves and cares for us all.
May God grant us to obey Him like Christ, our model, did!