1 Kings 18:3-And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. NKJV
If you read my previous post about Mordecai, you already know I am blogging about unsung heroes of the faith. Obadiah is one of my favorites.
Obadiah was a man who loved the Lord. He was in charge of Ahab and Jezebel’s home and was a trusted servant. But as valuable as he was to the service of king and queen, he was equally as devoted in his service to God.
Jezebel got in her head to kill all of the prophets of God. After all, she was devoted to Baal, and the two could not co-exist in her kingdom. Because Obadiah served and probably lived in the palace, he got wind of her plans to kill the prophets and decided that something needed to be done.
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.1 Kings 18:3 NKJV
Obadiah didn’t save all of the prophets, or there would have been no massacre, but he saved 100 of them. One hundred men got to continue their lives because Obadiah went out of his way to hide them away and give them food. It wasn’t a feast that he supplied them with, but it was sustenance to keep them from starving. They weren’t in a nice hotel, but they were safe.
At the risk of his life and job, Obadiah refused to ignore the political situation of his day. He chose instead to trust that as he provided for the prophets of God, God would step in and assist him, keeping them all safe. But I am sure that Obadiah had decided that he could not sit back and do nothing even if he perished.
All this occurred during the famine that Elijah, the prophet, had prophesied to King Ahab. Ahab had searched everywhere in pursuit of Elijah but could not find him. Then one day, Ahab sent Obadiah to look for a place to feed the horses so they wouldn’t have to be put to death. While he was out searching, Obadiah ran into Elijah.
Now as Obadiah was on his way, suddenly Elijah met him; and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, “Is that you, my lord Elijah?”1 Kings 18:7 NKJV
Obadiah didn’t just fear the Lord; he also had great respect for the prophets of God. As he sees Elijah, he bows before him in reference. After three years of wondering what happened to Elijah, I am sure he was delighted to see him. Elijah acknowledged that it was him and then told Obadiah to go and tell Ahab that he wanted to see him. As obedient as Obadiah seems to be, it appears that he is no wimp in speaking up for himself.
So he said, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?1 Kings 18:9 NKJV
Since Elijah hasn’t been around for a while, Obadiah has to bring him up to date. He tells Elijah that Ahab looked all over for him, and it angered him that he couldn’t find Elijah. So much so that he had the nations and kingdoms swear an oath to him that Elijah couldn’t be found in their lands.
I love what Obadiah says next:
And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here” ’! 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.1 Kings 18:11-12
Obadiah knows that Elijah has been part of some unusual miracles, to the point that he says that the Spirit of the Lord will carry Elijah to a place where he can’t be found. I find this interesting for two reasons. First, as far as I remember, Elijah hadn’t been carried away by the Spirit before this moment. Secondly, that’s precisely what happened to Elijah when his end came. So, Obadiah prophesied how Elijah would leave the earth by being carried away by the Spirit of the Lord! Isn’t that something?
Obadiah wasn’t afraid to put his own neck on the proverbial chopping block, but he wasn’t too pleased that it seemed like Elijah would do so. He said that as soon as he told Ahab that he had seen Elijah, and Elijah wasn’t found, he would be killed. After all he had done for the Lord, it just didn’t sit well with him, and he wanted to know what he had done wrong to deserve this treatment?
But I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth. Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid one hundred men of the Lord’s prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water? And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here.” ’ He will kill me!”1 Kings 18:12b-14 NKJV
Obadiah tells Elijah that he had faithfully served the Lord since he was a youth! Then Obadiah asks Elijah had he not heard how the 100 prophets were saved and fed by him? (Who could have shared that with Elijah but the Lord?) Obadiah was not happy to be placed in this position where he could be killed when he had served and honored God all of his life!
But Elijah wasn’t there to put him in an awkward position. It was just the opposite. God had Obadiah be the one to whom Elijah came upon. Because of Obadiah’s faithfulness, God allowed him to be the mediator between Ahab and Elijah. Obadiah got to see the faithfulness of God when Elijah met with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. And God used Obadiah to prophesy to Elijah about how he would leave the earth.
It’s easy to read about Elijah’s life and think of all the great things that God used him to do and not recognize that God was also using Obadiah. Throughout the pages of the word of God, we see this happening over and again, that God uses people who are not in the limelight. These people are often called upon to do courageous things that make a difference in the lives of those at the forefront of ministry.
You may be an unsung hero today. No one may even know your name or realize that you exist. But you are important to God and the lives of the people around you. Maybe, God has you praying for your pastor, working in the music ministry, or teaching a Sunday School class, and it seems like you can do more. Maybe you even want to do more! Just keep being faithful to what God has you doing right now and trust Him with the rest of it.
Or maybe God is challenging you today to step out and do a courageous thing for the kingdom of God. Perhaps it isn’t popular in your job, school, or church, but God is asking you to honor Him despite what others are doing. It could be risky. You could lose your position in your church or your favor on your job, but you know it is the right thing to do!
I can’t promise you that you will get to prophesy over your pastor’s life or strategically hide someone to keep them safe. But I can promise you that when you guard your heart and serve Him faithfully, He won’t forget what you have done. And He will reward you in a way that makes it all worth it! Wonderful Jesus!