Elijah is on his way to tell Ahab that, after three years, it’s finally going to rain again.
1 Kings 18:3b “Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord.”)
Obadiah was not just a believer, He was “a devout believer,” an obvious believer who didn’t try to hide or compromise his faith in a world that worshipped other gods. He loved and served the Lord his God every day and he was in charge of Ahab’s palace .
He told Elijah that he’d been worshipping the Lord since his youth. He was raised in a godly home by godly parents. His faith remained strong during the three years of famine and drought; those three long years when the Lord seemed to be silent and absent.
Ahab had done more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the other kings before him. Obadiah was a lifelong, devout believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Don’t you wonder how he got the job?
In order to be appointed to such an important position and given that much responsibility, Obadiah must have been very good at what he did, better than everyone else. The king demanded the best and he got it.
Obadiah was hired because of the skills and the talents God had given him and he managed to do the job without compromising his love for, or his faith in the Lord. In order to be effective and productive witnesses for Christ, repentant believers have to do their best every day, not for the people they’re working for, but for the Lord.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24
The Lord has a way of putting His people in the right place at the right time. We may constantly be questioning whether we are where the Lord wants us to be, but when the time is right, we’ll realize why He has us where we are.
1 Kings 18:4 “While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water.”
While Queen Jezebel is killing off every prophet she can find, Obadiah is hiding them in caves, feeding them from Ahab’s dwindling supply of food and water. Obadiah was risking his life every day for the God he continued to trust and believe in.
Meanwhile, Elijah has absolutely no idea that any of this is going on. While the prophets in Samaria are hiding in caves to keep from being killed, Elijah, who happens to be the prophet Jezebel is looking for, is living in Zarephath with a widow and her son. They’ve been eating bread every day from the little bit of flour and a few drops of oil that, somehow, have managed to last for three years.
Just because we can’t hear Him doesn’t mean the Lord’s not speaking. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean the Lord’s not doing it.
1 Kings 18:5 “Ahab said to Obadiah, ‘Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.’”
The situation’s gotten so bad that King Ahab personally goes out with Obadiah looking for enough grass to keep his animals alive. Elijah has been living in a spiritually protected bubble for the past three years. He has no idea how bad the suffering in Israel has actually become. While king Ahab is nervous and hungry in Samaria, Elijah is clueless and comfortable in Zarephath.
1 Kings 18:6-7a So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another. As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him.”
Here’s another example of the countless number of unseen miracles the Lord does for us every day; the ways He shows His love for us, the ways He provides for us, blesses us and protects us; the many things that go unnoticed and things we take for granted. Ahab goes one way and Obadiah goes another. If Elijah had run into Ahab, he would have been killed on the spot. But, by God’s grace, Elijah meets Obadiah instead.
1 Kings 18:7b-9 “Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground and said, ‘Is it really you, my lord Elijah?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Go tell your master Elijah is here.’”
Elijah has no idea how thoroughly and how perfectly the Lord has been working to meet all of his needs and to keep him safe for the past three years.
The problem with being clueless is that it causes us to be careless and ungrateful. If we can’t continually “see” what the Lord is doing for us, we tend to take His love and grace for granted. The Lord is always at work in those areas we can’t see.
The smartest thing we can do is to keep our eyes on the things we can’t see. What we can see is always temporary and unreliable, but the things we can’t see are true and they last forever.
As our circumstances seem to keep getting worse and we’re tempted to think that the Lord is ignoring us; when we can’t hear a word He’s saying, the best and wisest thing we can do is admit that we’re clueless and start thanking and praising Him for the work we know He’s doing and the promises we know He’s keeping. That way we won’t feel so embarrassed and ashamed when it all ends in victory.
Lord willing, we’ll pick this up from here next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.