Daily Thought for: 12th June
OBADIAH, A SECRET DISCIPLE
1 Kings 18. 1-16
Obadiah was governor of Ahabs house, a secret follower of the Lord. He
had known the Lord since youth, v. 12; cf. 2 Tim. 3. 15. His name means
servant of the Lord; he must have had godly parents. He had not departed
from the Lord during Ahabs reign. His heart was with the Lords servants,
and he brought them water when the very thing lacking was rain. He was
not entirely lacking in courage, for evidently he reported the presence
and message of Elijah despite his initial fear. He feared the Lord greatly
and God always notices the extent of the loyalty and service of His saints;
cf. Rom. 16. 12; Neh. 3. 20-24.
He must have found it difficult for testimony and service in Ahabs palace. What he did for the Lord he did secretly, and he did succeed in hiding 100 prophets of the Lord. Yet here was his weakness. He sympathized with the hunted prophets but lacked the faith and courage to identify himself with them in their sufferings. He must have trodden a tricky road of compromise in Ahabs court, fearing the Lord greatly, yet in close links with the evil king. Often he must have been in a great strait to reconcile his duty to God and his duty to Ahab. That duty to Ahab led him into the paltry task of seeking food for mules. The asses and mules of an ungodly world are no occupation for the Christian to the exclusion of the interests of the church of God.
Because Obadiah lacks confidence in the Lord, he is not ready to do the Lords bidding, and he tries to be excused, v. 12. He pleads his kindness to the prophets, v. 13. Had he been more openly on the Lords side he would have had no need to say, Was it not told my lord what I did? He knows God will protect Elijah, but he has no faith himself to count on Gods protection. Elijah had no need to ask such a question; it was well known what he did. His acts of service to God were no unusual events in his history.
Note Elijahs response; As the Lord God liveth before whom I stand. Whatever God might be to Obadiah, He was the living God to Elijah, and he was standing and acting in the consciousness of His presence. To Elijah, God was the living reality of his life and he would confront Ahab that day.