Obadiah and Elijah… Elijah pt 5

 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.  And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.  And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)  And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts. So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. ( I Kings 18:1-5)

After more than three years, God told Elijah to end his exile and come back into the Land. Thus the Word of the LORD was returning to Israel, full of potential blessing and life. But the People of Israel would have to repent, they would have to be turned away from Baal , unto God again. ‘

As far as Ahab and Jezebel were concerned, there was no sign of repentance whatsoever. Ahab had sent out search parties, even across the national borders in order to arrest Elijah as an enemy, and Jezebel poured out her wrath on any devout believers she could manage to find, in a nationwide persecution. If she couldn’t get her hands on Elijah, she would attack all prophets and seek to wipe out Elijah’s religion from the Land.

By ‘prophets’ we refer to the word in it’s wider sense, as referring to all of those who promote or seek to preserve or propagate the Word of the Lord in the land. Any who led little pockets of believers, who were concerned for and fed God’s flock would be considered prophets in that sense.

Thus there was yet a renmnant of true faith in Israel, in those troubled times, and some of it was found in the least likely places.

Ahab had a servant, Obadiah, (whose name means Servant of Jahweh) . He held the powerful civil position of “the Mayor of the Palace”, which put him in charge of Ahab’s palace, estates, and all of his livestock.

Obadiah was a faithful believer, loyal to Jahweh, in spite of the terrifying transformation he had seen in the land and no doubt the Government, with the ascension of Jezebel, the installment of Baalism as state religion, and the persecution which ensued.

From his position, Obadiah helped to hide 100 prophets He hid them from Jezebel, and saw to it that they were fed and sustained. He risked his life in order to preserve the Word of the LORD in the land.

The King was concerned about his livestock, and sent two expeditions out to find any water sources eyet unknown in the drought stricken land. By this time, the land had been transformed from a veritable garden, a promised land flowing with milk and honey, into a barren, dead desert, for idolatry always kills.

And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?  And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.  And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?  As the Lord thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.( I kings 18:7-11)

On his way, Obadiah ran into Elijah.

Obadiah reveals the treacherous tightrope He must walk, and which today many are called to walk, (Being faithful to God in a faithless context, and trying to balance the demands of the LORD and the earthly lords). His ‘lord’ had been seeking Elijah to Kill Him. But recognizing his true LORD in Elijah, he calls him Lord.

God can use outsiders such as Elijah, in ways that those within the system cannot be used, yet God can use those trapped in the system, like Obadiah, in ways which he can’t use people such as Elijah.

Obadiah needs assurance that Elijah will not just disappear and leave him ‘holding the bag’ so to say, when he arrives back with Ahab, to confront Elijah.

And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the Lord shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth.  Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the Lord, how I hid an hundred men of the Lord’s prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?  And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me. And Elijah said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day.( I Kings 18:12-15)

It was time for the confrontation, the fight for the soul of the nation, would Israel worship Baal and his consort? Or would they return to Jahweh?

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1 Response to Obadiah and Elijah… Elijah pt 5

  1. bryan Johnston says:

    Excellent comparison to today’s “treacherous tightrope,” i.e. assiduously following Christ’s Words “If you love Me, then OBEY My Commands,” whilst simultaneously heeding St. Paul’s instructions in Romans 13, about obeying laws created by a Government, that oftentimes ignores God’s Word (e.g. the legalisation of so-called “gay marriage,” which is clearly still an “abomination” to our Heavenly Father, therefore should be to us as well.)
    Clearly the Obadiah dilemma lives on today, as does the “Elijah Spirit,” preparing us worldwide for the imminent Return of Christ.
    The ‘cliff-hanger’ ending, classically designed to prompt us to read the next installment, is cleverly constructed, with just a few brief but oh-so-relevant questions = great stuff. Thank you!

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