I wanted to write on just one attribute about Elijah because of a verse I saw that hit a nerve and got me excited. But as I read through I Kings 17 to II Kings 2, I came across a character I had never paid attention to and he just had to be the focus of this episode.
The thing that Obadiah did
He hid a hundred men of God to save them from Jezebel’s wanton fury.
I believe that this study is especially timely and significant for us as Christians at a time when we are being encouraged to move center stage. It is not okay to hide under the veil of solemn Christianity and keep quiet while we watch things keep falling apart. Neither is it okay to be satisfied in our sufficiency without a care about what we can do to cause a positive impact.
We may give the excuse that society, the government and authorities are unkind to those who wish to do good and thus stand back out of fear but let’s look at Obadiah and what we can learn from him.
We need just men in positions of influence
Obadiah’s scene takes less than a quarter of a chapter in the bible. But it is so significant. He is introduced in chapter 18, verse 3, as the palace administrator (a man who feared the Lord greatly). As a child, I heard my parents speak of politics as a dirty game. We all say this and know how true it is in Nigeria. I served in the ministry of youth development and I’ve been to several government institutions for various reasons, and I know how corrupt the public sector can be. But can we really keep ourselves safe by staying out of public service or keeping quiet about the things we should speak for? How far has that gotten us?
Obadiah was a devout man who feared God but he was the palace administrator. His position did not mean that he lost touch with God. In fact, his position gave him an opportunity to be used by God in a time of trouble.
‘For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.
I Kings 18:4 NKJV
He saved 100 lives; prophets of God. He had access to intel and he had the resource to do what he did.
Where are you positioned? Where is God asking you to occupy but like Peter, you still call unclean what God has sanctified for a reason?
Obadiah – A Do It Afraid master
After reading I Kings 18:3-4, I was a quick in my interpretation and praise of Obadiah. Move center stage, right? Be in a position to influence policies and to be of help and to cause an impact. He had that locked down. But does that mean it gets rosy there? Not at all. Obadiah didn’t hide the one hundred prophets because he was bold and didn’t care a tiny rat’s butt what could happen to him. Nope. He was very afraid.
His meeting with Elijah had a bit of hilarity in it. Elijah simply asked him to go tell the king that he was around and Obadiah broke down and started a confession.
We can see from verse 9-14 that he was conscious of the consequences of his actions. He recognized the power that his earthly authority wielded and he did not want to die. Yet, he hid a hundred prophets and fed them in spite of Jezebel’s plans.
He didn’t do what was easy. He did what was needed and right. And he did it afraid.
Obadiah recognized his prophet
Elijah had been away from the public eye for a long time. The king had been searching for him. He was tagged ‘The Troubler of Israel’ and I can imagine that there was a bounty on his life. Yet, when Obadiah saw him, he recognized him and bowed to him.
A change of attitude is something we see often when someone is placed in a position of authority. Power, they say, corrupts. But in order to stay grounded, it is important that when you get to that position to influence policies and make changes, you do not forget your roots. Don’t neglect your spiritual authorities and accountability partners. We should not feel like we’ve grown out of their league. Let the spirit of God keep you in touch with those who are also working their assignment out in Christ.
In what ways are you a man like Obadiah? In what ways are you positioned for impact?