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Elijah 5 – Elijah and Obadiah

12/10/2012

Elijah 5 – Elijah and Obadiah

Text: 1st Kings 18:1FF

1. Elijah must Move On! 18:1-2

And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.  And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria

Now these verses are very interesting, and there is a lot for us to learn from them.

Notice that:

  • Time is marked in two ways!  Our way and God’s way. And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year.  This was now the third year of the great drought.  (James spoke of the drought lasting for three and a half years.)  People do think in terms of years.  We mark our birthday every year, we are greatly taken with anniversaries, personal and national anniversaries.  But God spoke to Elijah AFTER MANY DAYS!  As far as learning the lessons of God is concerned, and as far as our spiritual life is concerned, we must walk with God just ONE DAY AT A TIME!
  • God spoke to Elijahthe word of the Lord came to Elijah Now, what’s unusual about that?  Well, if you have been reading these interesting words, you will see that God always spoke to Elijah at certain times!  After his confrontation with the king, after the brook dried up, after the Sidonian widow had expressed faith in God.  Isn’t that interesting?  Elijah was given instructions by God after each step in his process of sanctification and spiritual experience.  At Zarephath Elijah’s ministry was vindicated!  Not just by God Himself, but by the effects of his ministry in the life of the woman. 1 Kings 17:24  And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.
  • The famine was sore. And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria. What an awful result ensued from the outpouring of God’s wrath upon sin!  God punishes sinners who refuse to repent of their sin, and who persist in that sin.  You might ask, but what about the Love of God?  Is it not true to say that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner?  It is true – but it is only partly true.  God demonstrated his love for sinners at the Cross!   If a sinner rejects the cross, they reject the love of God and they remain under his condemnation.  God punishes sin, and God punished the sin of Israel.

And now, Elijah must Go back to Ahab, and bring another message about the holiness of God and God’s righteous and rightful demands for holy living among His people.  So Elijah called upon another man, a servant of the king, called Obadiah.  Obadiah is an interesting man:-

 

2. Obadiah Feared the Lord.

Now, this Obadiah is not the same man who has a Bible book, one of the minor prophets.  This man was the King’s household manager.  Yet has was also a believer in God! Obadiah feared the Lord! Now, what does that mean?  There was a time when committed Christians were always known as God-fearing people. But somewhere along the way we lost it. Now the idea of fearing God, if thought of at all, seems like a relic from the past. The term may seem terribly old-fashioned, but may prayer is that the Holy Spirit will make us God-fearing people. Then, fearing God, we shall fear no-one else. Proverbs 9:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. You can’t fear God unless you know Him!

  • We must understand His character!  In order to fear the Lord, and have proper reverence in our lives for God, we must understand just a little about Him.. We must learn that God is holy – what does that mean?
  • An awareness of what God requires of us!  What are God’s standards?  Deut. 10:12God created us for a reason, and the reason that there is so little fulfilment in people’s lives is that we are out of purpose.
  • We must be aware of God’s presence!  Have you noticed that when some people come to church, they can’t get out quick enough?  They don’t sense the presence of the Lord!  But God is everywhere!
  • To fear God is to hate evil!  Evil is an awful thing, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  He is Holy! Proverbs 8:13
  • To fear the Lord is to appreciate his mercy! Psalm 118:4 Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever.  Fear of the Lord will only come when we have experienced the mercy of God.
  • To fear the Lord is to Delight in HimPsalm 112:1   Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.   Our relationship with the God we fear is the happiest thing in our lives!  We delight in the Lord!

Now in this day of light Christianity, where is the fear of the Lord?  Where is the overwhelming reverence for God that Isaiah experienced when he came into God presence in the Temple? Isaiah 6:1-5 

 

3. Obadiah Feared the Lord Greatly! And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly:   Now Obadiah exceeded the normal reverence and fear of the Lord that God expected from His people.  He greatly feared the Lord.  The Bible explains this for us in the next verse.  1 Kings 18:4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)  Obadiah’s ‘fear of the Lord’ led him to extraordinary lengths of service!

  • He feared the Lord when it was dangerous to do so!  Obadiah lived in dangerous days.  Jezebel had set out to destroy the faith of Israel, by slaughtering all the prophets, silencing all the pulpits, stopping all the preaching…  But Obadiah, who greatly feared the Lord, rescued 120 of these preachers of truth, and hid them in a cave.  Then he fed them
  • His fear of the Lord took him the second mile!  No-one commanded Obadiah to hide the prophets and feed them, it wasn’t a duty.  That was going the second mile for God!  That was costly!  That was fearing the Lord greatly, for he did what was more than was necessary.
  • He feared the Lord without expectation of reward!  Up to this point, no-one knew that Obadiah was hiding the prophets.  Elijah didn’t even seem to know.  Obadiah was doing this without regard for the praise of men!

Now Obadiah wasn’t perfect, for he falters at the challenge that Elijah gave him  Obadiah is far from perfect!  None of us are – but we can still fear the Lord greatly!

 

Do you want to know how to grow in the Lord – how to fear the Lord greatly?  By keeping his commandments in dangerous times.  Obeying the Lord might cost us our jobs – might lose us friends.  But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!

 

From → 1st & 2nd Kings

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