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Put yourself in Obadiah’s sandals. He had been faithful to the Lord. Why, then, did Elijah’s appearance frighten him?


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Bible passage: 1 Kings 18:1–15


1 Kings 18

Elijah and Obadiah
 1 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, who was in charge of his palace. (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) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Meeting with the king
Elijah presented himself to Obadiah, King Ahab’s palace administrator, to arrange a meeting with the king. Obadiah, however, was shaken (v 9): ‘What have I done wrong?’ He felt Elijah’s appearance was his likely death knell. While we can’t be certain why, let’s try to puzzle together a possible explanation.

Immediate threat
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 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.

Not intimidated
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.

Ron Frost

Respond


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?


Deeper Bible study


Some three years later, Elijah was ready. All that time, Ahab had been hunting for him (v 10), unaware that he was quietly living only a few miles from his father-in-law’s palace, under the Lord’s protection. So ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab’ (v 1) was no small order, even if Elijah brought good news of rains to come. If the prophet had suddenly and unexpectedly appeared before Ahab, he might not have survived the encounter. Therefore, once more, the Lord took steps to protect him. He chose one of his own, Obadiah, to act as intermediary. Although Obadiah is not the focus of this chapter, it’s worth taking a few moments to learn from him. In many ways, he was simply an ordinary man trying to survive in dangerous and uncertain times, but he was a man of genuine faith in the Lord and not afraid to act on his faith (v 4). To remain a ‘devout believer’ (v 3) at the same time as serving as a senior minister in Ahab’s court must have meant walking a tightrope of fear every day. Things would only get worse as the drought began to hit Ahab personally and as he tried in vain to solve the problem using his own ingenuity (v 5). So Obadiah’s fears are very reasonable. Nonetheless, he trusts Elijah’s promise (v 15) and obeys him (v 16). Courage is only courage in the face of fear. Consider what may cause you to fear and pray accordingly.

In due time Obadiah discovers that his fears were in fact unfounded. Elijah is there at the meeting place and Ahab is too obsessed with him to bother about blaming Obadiah. The incident has simply been an opportunity for Obadiah to grow spiritually and for Elijah to fulfil his latest mission. As always, the Lord has been in full control throughout.

Marian Raikes


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Even though I walk through the valley (You never let go)
Matt & Beth Redman
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com



He watches over me
Michael Sandeman (Phatfish)
Copyright © 2009 Phat Music, administered by Song Solutions Copycare




Comments
  • Oakley Bookworm | Sunday, 10 February 2019

    HYMN (AUTHOR OF FAITH ETERNAL WORD) Author of faith, eternal word, whose Spirit breathes the active flame - faith, like its Finisher and Lord, today as yesterday the same - Charles Wesley WORDS & MUSIC (MAINZER) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KywV6mCIGaA

  • David Chipchase | Monday, 11 February 2019

    ANYONE; are there any updates on Rubia and Andrew? LYNN, how goes your little family?

  • Rachael Hampton | Monday, 11 February 2019

    Yes David, James is the husband I think. Dear Joanna, was Marian in Deeper writing for you today? She asked the same question David asked: what is it that you fear? I then ask myself, what is the worst that could happen if I do such and such? Would that be too hard for God to handle for/with me? Or would you discover, like Obadiah, that all along God had been there, helping and providing. I too have been keeping you in my prayers as you respond to God’s nudges knowing your husband may not appreciate any change in you. May God give you favour with your husband, and wisdom, as you implement a more healthful way to share a companionable glass of wine as you eat together.

  • Rachael Hampton | Monday, 11 February 2019

    And prayers for you and your family Christine. Thank you, and all, for this wonderful ‘small group.’

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    We see that Obadiah’s response to Elijah was such a human one and that God uses ordinary, faith-filled people to help one another when a purpose arises. Dangers surrounded Obadiah daily as he courageously and quietly battled on in his aim to protect God’s people from harm. God sent a very special son to enable Elijah to continue with his purpose. We each have our own ‘part’ in God’s Kingdom and He knows who is faithful and who He can trust.

  • Jack Russell | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Indeed there has been some wonderful sharing in this group and courageous risk with being vulnerable with one another. The command Elijah gave to Obadiah to tell king Ahab that he was there came with the risk of the messenger being killed if Ahab was unable to find Elijah. Being as Obadiah had hidden prophets while others being killed by Jezebel this, perhaps, was not an irrational fear. Also the likelihood that Elijah would be killed too by Jezebel in appearing before the king meant incredible courage needed for him to present himself to Ahab. Of course the same courage is required of us. And when I say us I refer to prophetic voices in the world generally. Thankfully in the west we are able to have a voice with religious freedom without the likelihood of imprisonment or death unlike in some parts of the world. However that is not to neglect the suffering we will need to endure in being bold and courageous in keeping with whatever position God has for us. We may find ourselves disenfranchised, losing our jobs, suffering with ill health, finding we need to rest and be away from people and just need to eat, drink and sleep to gather our strength etc. Or alternatively we may find, like Ahab that we choose an easier road and give in to temptation to worship another "god" apart from Jaweh. Certainly with individualism in the west, we are never without the temptation to be worshiping ourselves with "I think I feel I want" taking precedence over the difficult aspects of following Jesus. However if we resist such temptation inevitably we will be strengthen ourselves in the Lord and not only able to survive but to thrive in the midst of life's difficulties, living life to the fullest by the grace of God!

  • Ruth Davies | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    I can really identify with many of the comments about relationships with husbands and just wanted to recommend a book I have worked through several times over the years and each time have been amazed at the outcome. It’s called the Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. It’s American (!) and not all of it is pertinent but the underlying message of praying into all aspects of your husbands life is powerful. My natural response to disagreement with my husband is to state my case and ty to persuade which often leads to argument or strain. But praying really does make a difference - I know we all know that but this book leads you through different aspects you may not think of and,by Gods grace, helps to heal hurts and grow your love for your husband as your brother in Christ as well as partner/lover as you bring them all to our Father. I too appreciate the discussion - thank-you

  • Thelma Edwards | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    I was struck by God's timing today. We need to be praying for the 'when' of God as well as the 'what' as we seek to be guided by Him. When my son was training his puppy dog Stan in obedience I watched as he called Stan to wait in the designated eating place and SIT. Stan sat upright, ears alert, eyes following Robin as he filled the bowl. He then placed his dog bowl with breakfast on the floor in front of him. Stan still sat, looking intently at Robin, watching and waiting until he heard EAT. He then began to eat while Robin patted his head and said 'Good Boy'. Stan is a very obedient dog and a delight to be with and take out. He can be trusted to be obedient. Am I that expectant, alert, listening for my Lord's voice, hearing the 'what' He wants me to do but also waiting for the 'when'? How often do I hear hear His 'Well done thou good and faithful servant?' Elijah had to wait three years while God prepared the ground and worked out His purposes.

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    There was a lot of honesty, unburdoning and pain in yesterdays comments. I continue to pray for each courageous one who shared and for those who responded. Jack, I was thinking how much you had grown and the unique way you often comment. It often gives me something new to reflect on. You are valued here. my daughter is dislexic and yet the cleverest of my three children. She suffered from being thought lazy and from a few insensitive teachers and judgemental folk who couldnt or wouldnt understand this disability. Amazingly, God compensated and she developed heightened skills of emotional awareness and learning orally and she now works very effectively within a charity where people are distressedand anxious. I sense you have developed compensating strategies and skills and this makes your understanding of the world unique. I appreciate your struggle and rejoice that you know where to turn and take all your frustration, exhaustion and confusion to God. Be assured he is working through you and in you. Hang in there!

  • Helen Humby | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Can't help but think of the many secret believers there are even as we read this amazing account of courage and faithfulness. Let's remember today in prayer those who have high positions in government all over the world, yet secretly or openly follow Christ.

  • Thelma Edwards | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    There seem to be so many Christian wives praying for their prodigal husbands in the churches where I have worshipped and now I discover here in our WordLive community. Many years ago I read a book that was helpful called What happens when women pray by Evelyn Christendom. When I was away two weeks ago at a silent prayer retreat, the Lord raised to the surface my fear of losing Colin. I have had a repeated dream that we get separated and I lose him. Recently he has had a few small health issues, and we have had family members die, and it seems I had been pushing these fears down. I was advised to 'Leave Colin to the Lord to sort'. He was working in the background. My part was to be an obedient Christian wife, to love and to cherish, to respect my husband's plans, and to leave Colin in Gods hands.

  • Stephen Nicholls | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Thelma - what a shame there isn't a simple "Like" button we could press when we agree with comments made. Bless you - and Colin: may the Lord keep your love for each other strong and steadfast. Bless you both....

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Every situation can be helped enormously by just getting to know how much we are loved by God

  • Roger Hall | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    This comment column is lovely and honest today. Thankyou everyone. I am an abandoned husband. I suppose one has to remove with the Lord's help, all feelings of animosity. While doing so, some sort of humility emerges. So difficulties arise. One removed me from an increasingly opulent life, gave me a chance to find healing and purpose, and having had a large circle of friends, realising that they weren't, but only followers of enjoyment. It seems, however that the Lord gives me inspiration and help in the places I live and Minister. I can confidently expect that by thinking through, maybe when lying awake, for a revelation by just taking the gospel for next Sunday, so as I find myself going back to sleep, He so kindly fixes it so I have it when I start work on it. It's hard, talking about myself.

  • Lynda Spencer | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    I am blessed with a believing husband, indeed in our partnership I would say he is by far the stronger and wiser Christian. I thank God for him every day. However, I have a great deal of sympathy with those of you who have shared recently, and I am praying for you while I pray for the three dear sisters in my church whose husbands are not believers and whose lives are made difficult at times because of it. At Christmas I was given a lovely little book - 'Five Things to Pray for the People You Love' by Rachel Jones. Based on praying the Bible into all circumstances I have found it to be a really helpful aid to my daily praying, not just for my husband, but for all my loved ones, many of whom are not yet believers. I liked it because it's short, readable, practical, and has space to write in, which suits my learning style. The person who gave it to me bought it from the Good Book Company. https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/5-things-to-pray-for-the-people-you-love

  • Lynda Spencer | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Bless you, ROGER. I love your regular comments, your honesty and sometimes your quirkiness! I love to hear your testimonies of the Lord's provision and hearing His voice in all sorts of places. You were one of the first people I encountered on this page and you encouraged me in my first tentative comments about four years ago! Thank you.

  • Jean MacKenzie | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    I'm praying for you, Joanna, and agree with everyone that praying for God's guidance about how best to handle a difficult discussion is essential. Sometimes God can show us a light-hearted approach that can take all the heat out of a conversation and I pray that God will give you the words you need. However no-one should have to drink more alcohol than they want, or miss attending church if they want to, because of an overbearing spouse. That behaviour is a form of coercive control, which is now a crime in the UK. Please think about seeking advice from someone you trust, phoning Al-Anon or consulting your doctor.

  • Joanna Craigie | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I didn't have wine last night and my hubby was ok about it. I have made contact with an old friend from my previous church which now has a cafe which she works in - she has invited me for a coffee and chat so am hoping to do this later this week. I really do appreciate this group.

  • Jack Russell | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Rosemary, I am deeply touched by your comment and support. Yes, I am different and I take it as a compliment that you regard how I comment to be unique. I can identify with what you say about your daughter with heightened skills of emotional awareness. For me understanding with the support I have been given has made me aware of abilities with vocabulary and abstract reasoning "well into the very superiour range". Someone said once that I am superiour and the wired thing about it is that she didn't feel inferiour in my presence. At a tribunal a couple of years ago a judge allowed my appeal and my representative said she wouldn't want to argue with me because I argue very articulately. On the other side of the coin I've been accused of having an aloof aura and being argumentative. I was in a caring profession and part of that was advocacy for the vulnerable which I was considered good at. But I had some frustrations in that position and wasn't enjoying it. I've been considered to be great as a radio presenter and I feel like a round peg in a round hole with that. If you like, my radio show is from 10-12 in the mornings on Sundays. My DJ name is Jools London. I hope your daughter is finding every fulfilment in the charity she works with and has found that she now is not held back by bein misunderstood and mistreated in the past but has a strength from having endured that which has equipped her for life in its fullness and offering comfort and support to clients in distress.

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    My health has been declining steadily for the last six months. Tomorrow I am seeing a gastroenterologist and on Thursday a cardiologist. Could I ask for prayer please that these two doctors would be given God-given wisdom as they consider my health (or delve through my entrails)?

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Roger touched on it (btw, Roger, I have noticed the positive changes in your depth, perception, compassion and wisdom over the past year. They are great to see.) let's also remember all those husbands who are praying heartfelt prayers for their wives. I was in that group. The small, still voice of God told me, "Don't worry, I have the situation and control." About five years later He demonstrated that He did have everything under control. But what a relief to have that promise so I was able to relax and know everything was planned out.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    I can identify with that DAVID. Many years ago my husband said 'where's your God gonna be when I walk out this door.' Immediately a still small voice reassured me all would be well. And of course He was right. Like most people I've had my share of horrendous happenings but as Joyce Meyer often says 'I may not have had a good start but I'm guaranteed a good finish'

  • Rebecca Huie | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    I’ve been deeply touched by the openness and honesty and courage displayed by many of our members who have commented in the past few days. God bless each of you in your own particular situations. This is what we’re here for- to study Scripture, apply it to our lives, and pray for each other. The courageous sharing helps us know more specifically how to pray. You are all a blessing and are in my prayers daily. Lord bless, comfort and sustain each of you.

  • Colin Anderson | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Great comments today, thanks to everyone. My wife mocks my faith but when this happens I often think of the oyster which cannot make a pearl without that “annoying” grain of sand. May we all be strengthened into pearls by the trials we face, like Obadiah.

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    So many wise comments today. How important it is to stay rooted in truths revealed through scripture, sure of God's love enveloping and guiding. I am quite thin skinned and easily upset when I feel misunderstood or aggressively confronted, My instinct is to retreat and allow myself to feel hurt. This brings its own problems of hidden resentment and anger that inevitably leads to sin. It has been quite new for me to realise the effect of other's treatment of me has no power to hurt unless I allow it. If I refuse to play the game the abuse is not passed on. That is powerful stuff and goes against the way we see the world working. Reading the fears of Obadiah I recognise my own fears of avoiding confrontation with intimidating people. But God is faithful and in control. There is no fear in God's love. Jesus' reaction to the hate levelled at him shows not weakness but inner certainty and strength. He would not play the game because he was not of their world. The devil had no hold when confronted by Jesus. More and more I want to be part of that world of Jesus, instead of slipping back into those 'default' worldly reactions.

  • Thelma Edwards | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Update on my unborn grandson (with rhesus disease) for your ongoing prayers please. Following successful two intrauterine blood transfusions, there is to be one more monitoring tomorrow (Australian time) hoping that baby will have remained stable so that the planned induction can take place on Monday next, 18th February. I believe this will be at 36 weeks gestation. My son and wife have been taken around the neonatal unit and introduced to the staff and told it is likely baby will need to be in the unit for at least a week and will probably need a blood transfusion after delivery. Thank you.

  • Christine Davis | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Thank you everyone especially Rachael and Jack for all your loving and supportive comments - they mean so much. I could type pages and pages of all that God has done for me, at one time it was possible that I would not have a brick over my head, and yet today I have a lovely home just right for me. Thelma I love Evelyn Christendom books, I have several and can also recommend a book I found many years ago called 'How to pray for your family and friends' the section of forgiveness was amazing and so helpful. I cannot recommend Al Anon more highly to anyone who has someone whose drinking they are concerned about. It simply saved my sanity. I would appreciate prayer as I am feeling very vulnerable again at the moment but I know God has a plan and purpose for me - I just can't see it yet. Praying for everyone that has requested prayer and this whole family. Blessings all x

  • Lynda Spencer | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Continuing to pray for your precious little grandson, Thelma, and for your son and daughter-in-law.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 12 February 2019

    Sorry to be late today, the chest problem was not so good again spoke to the Dr who has started me on steroids again, I am wheezing and coughing. Dr says I have picked up 'an horrendous bug'. had it since December 18th and it has taken my energy. It has been good to read all the comments it is a joy to be part of this Fellowship.Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 13 February 2019

    Dear Barbara, thanks for your late message. For some reason I read your message and thought about it as I prepared to have my shower. I wondered if the Lord would give me a message. He did not. So as I got out, I thought I heard a voice say "I've got this." So, you are in Good hands! They are attached to everlasting arms. You are much loved.

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