Lord, I pray for all who are facing persecution for their faith.
Read 1 Kings 18:1–15
Elijah and Obadiah
18 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. 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 had supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab had 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.” 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”
8 “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”
9 “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”
15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPut yourself in Obadiah’s sandals. He had been faithful to the Lord. Why, then, did Elijah’s appearance frighten him?
Elijah presented himself to Obadiah, King Ahab’s palace administrator, to arrange a meeting with the king. Obadiah, however, was shaken (9): “What have I done wrong?” He felt that Elijah’s appearance was his likely death knell. While we can’t be certain why, let’s try to puzzle together a possible explanation.
With Elijah’s appearance Obadiah faced two crises at once. One was the drought-driven famine; and the other was Queen Jezebel’s ambition to kill all of the Lord’s prophets. Obadiah, as we know, secretly sheltered one hundred of the prophets. So Elijah represented God and his power over the rain; yet Jezebel’s royal power was a more immediate threat. And Obadiah, knowing how Jezebel operated, probably wondered if Elijah could survive a royal conference. Elijah’s wisest option would be to disappear once again, and Obadiah could expect to be executed if Elijah didn’t appear as promised.
Elijah, however, was calm in the face of Ahab’s opposition and he promised to attend the meeting. Why? Because he served “the Lord Almighty.” He wasn’t intimidated.
Obadiah displayed faith by sheltering God’s prophets. Yet Obadiah’s faith reached its limits when Elijah appeared. Do you have your own boundaries in trusting God? Can they grow?
Lord, I pray that Your power will be evident in my life as I put my trust in You.
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