July 22, 2020 – Wednesday
1 Kings 18:1-4 NIV
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, 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.)
To provide some context go back to chapter 17:1 where Elijah announced a drought from God, Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” And in verse one for today above we find the drought is in its third year.
It is interesting only the NIV records Obadiah as a devout believer in the Lord. Most of the other versions say he feared the Lord greatly or greatly revered the Lord. The other versions indicate he was a devout believer, but the question is why – whichever version you use – is this added in parenthetically? Well the next verse provides a major clue as Ahab’s wife Jezebel was killing off all the prophets of the Lord she could find while Obadiah was hiding a hundred of them in two caves. It is important here to note that the name or title prophet is not only given to such as are endowed with an extraordinary spirit of prophecy, but to such ministers as devoted themselves to the service of God in preaching, praying, praising God, and the like (Poole quoted by Guzik).
King Ahab knew Obadiah was a devout believer who feared and revered the Lord, but kept him on anyway in spite of wife’s murderous ways. Nonetheless, as Ellicott’s commentary says It is curiously significant of the hesitating and temporising attitude of Ahab, that, while Jezebel is suffered to persecute, a high officer in the court is able to profess openly the service of Jehovah, and secretly to thwart the cruelty of the queen. In his heart Ahab always seems to acknowledge the true God, but is overborne by the commanding and ruthless nature of Jezebel. Even with this in mind, Obadiah was a man of some courage to be a known devout believer in such a court never knowing when things might change.
If you wish to read of the lack of power of the god or gods (Baals) Jezebel worshipped, read on as 450 of the Baal prophets vied with God’s prophet Elijah to see which could burn the offering on Mount Carmel in this chapter. It is an amazing account and display of God’s power. If you wish to see what Jezreel Valley looks like from Mount Carmel today go here for a short video.
To my way of thinking, Obadiah was honored by God for his belief in such a court thus he is mentioned and given a role to play in God’s great display of power through the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. May we also be able to hold on to our faith and belief should such trials ever come in our own lives.