Obadiah. (This is not the prophet of the same name)
1 Kings 18:3 “And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly:”
I want to speak a little about the fear of the Lord….
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding,”
This fear is reverence…you are awed by the Lord, for you see Him as High and lifted up….and you see your place before Him.
(Isaiah 6:1-7, Luke 5:4-10. These are great verses. For both Isaiah the prophet and Peter the apostle, recognize God’s greatness and power, and righty, put themselves in their place before Him.)
How great it is to have everything in the right perspective….God’s perspective.
This fear shows us our sinfulness…..but then God meets that sinfulness, by pardon, and a call to follow Him.
Obadiah feared the Lord…greatly. He knew He was the only and true God. He was not a idol worshipper, though most of Israel was at this time.
He was a servant for king Ahab, and in a position of authority….so he must have done his job for the king, and his household, well….
…..but he believed and trusted in the Lord.
1 Kings 18:3-4 “….(Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly:
For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took a hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)
This took great courage….but the fear of the Lord gives wisdom and understanding, and so Obadiah knew what to do.
For he wanted to save some of God’s worshippers from Jezebel’s, killing them.
(Jezebel was Ahab’s heathen queen. When she came to power, she killed and intimidated most of the servants of the Lord, and introduced Baal (an idol) worship.)
But Obadiah hid one hundred of them; fifty in a cave…..and fed them, bread and water….and this for three years.
Now Ahab goes out with Obadiah to see if they might get some grass, to feed the animals, that they would not lose the animals of war.
How wicked a king, which does not see to the needs of his people, first!
But on his way, Obadiah sees Elijah…..the man who told king Ahab that there would be no dew or rain till he said.
(Elijah had prayed, claiming the promise of Moses….that if God would withhold the rain,…..the people might remember God’s Word,…..and the chastening by famine, might bring His people back to Him. Deuteronomy 11:16-17)
And for three years and six months…. (James 5:17-18. Elijah had prayed for six months, then was sent to notify Ahab of God’s Word)….God had not given rain….everything was in famine…and dieing; yet Israel had not turned back to God.
But Elijah came, and said that he would see Ahab. Now Ahab had tried to find Elijah for three years, to kill him…..but now, God had said the trial was over….He would send rain.
God always brings us through “measured” trials.
He knows how much to demand….and when to lift up. One is to awaken to His claims….the other is to bring them to look up, to see Him again.
So Elijah comes, and Obadiah sees him. Elijah tells him to go get Ahab and bring him.
But Obadiah was frightened…..this was not the fear of the Lord, but fear of Ahab. What if God’s Spirit would catch away Elijah….and Ahab would be furious…..then he would surely die,….and he had those godly people to see to…..
Instead of remaining in fear to the world, Obadiah told Elijah his fear,…….and Elijah, respecting this servant of God,….
1 Kings 18:15 “And Elijah said, As the Lord of Hosts liveth, before Whom I stand, I will surely show myself unto him today.”
In the Lord’s name, Elijah assures this man…..you are safe.
1 Kings 18:16 “So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him:…..”
Obadiah feared the Lord greatly….he served even the wicked Ahab, faithfully….and faithfully kept alive one hundred of God’s prophets.
This took courage,….but even for a faithful servant, the fear of the world can come into our thoughts….and if not stopped: into our hearts.
But Obadiah did not let it go further than his thoughts….and sought an answer from God’s servant, Elijah…and obeyed, when he got it.
We, too, need to fear the Lord….get wisdom for our walk, and understanding of His Way. In times of blessing in the Church, and in times of declension…..we need to fear the Lord, and do good to those that belong to Him.
And when the fear of the world comes in….we need to address ourselves to God and get His answer.
Obadiah is not mentioned again. There are only thirteen verses that speak of him….yet, God noticed his godly fear, and put it in His Book.
As Christians, our names are written in the Book of Life…..but there is a “book of remembrance”, which is before Him….for those that fear the Lord.
Malachi 3:16 “And they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His Name.”
God sees our faithfulness, our diligence, and every word and thought that reaches out to Him.
There is fear of the world,….which will terrify and halt our progress.
And there is the fear of the Lord,….which brings wisdom to our situation, understanding to our minds and hearts, and courage to our lives.