The drought rocked on and Elijah received a new message from God. “Later on, in the third year of the drought, the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him that I will soon send rain!’ So Elijah went to appear before Ahab” (I Kings 18:1-2a, NLT).
Elijah had been hiding out from Ahab who blamed him for the drought. Now, at God’s command, he boldly marches out to face him.
“Meanwhile, the famine had become very severe in Samaria. So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Obadiah was a devoted follower of the Lord. Once when Jezebel had tried to kill all the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had hidden 100 of them in two caves. He put fifty prophets in each cave and supplied them with food and water)” (I Kings 18:2b-4).
“Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace,” was also “a devoted follower of the Lord.” At great risk to his own life, he had defied the king and protected 100 of God’s faithful prophets. This is likely the same Obadiah for whom the Old Testament book is named, although it’s not possible to say for certain since there are over a dozen different Obadiahs mentioned in the Old Testament.
“Ahab said to Obadiah, ‘We must check every spring and valley in the land to see if we can find enough grass to save at least some of my horses and mules.’ So they divided the land between them. Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. As Obadiah was walking along, he suddenly saw Elijah coming toward him” (I Kings 18:5-7a).
Obadiah thought he was on a mission for the king of Israel, but he was actually on a mission for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Seeing Elijah, “Obadiah recognized him at once and bowed low to the ground before him. ‘Is it really you, my lord Elijah?’ he asked.
‘Yes, it is,’ Elijah replied. ‘Now go and tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’’
‘Oh, sir,’ Obadiah protested, ‘what harm have I done to you that you are sending me to my death at the hands of Ahab? For I swear by the Lord your God that the king has searched every nation and kingdom on earth from end to end to find you. And each time he was told, ‘Elijah isn’t here,’ King Ahab forced the king of that nation to swear to the truth of his claim. And now you say, ‘Go and tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’’
But as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you away to who knows where. When Ahab comes and cannot find you, he will kill me. Yet I have been a true servant of the Lord all my life. Has no one told you, my lord, about the time when Jezebel was trying to kill the Lord’s prophets? I hid 100 of them in two caves and supplied them with food and water. And now you say, ‘Go and tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’’ Sir, if I do that, Ahab will certainly kill me’” (I Kings 18:7b-14).
Obadiah knew that Ahab wanted Elijah dead more than just about anything. He also believed that the Lord had been protecting Elijah and would continue to keep him from Ahab’s reach. Obadiah needed a little convincing to realize that Elijah really wanted to a face-to-face meeting with Ahab.
So Elijah assured him, “I swear by the Lord Almighty, in whose presence I stand, that I will present myself to Ahab this very day” (I Kings 18:15).
“So Obadiah went to tell Ahab that Elijah had come, and Ahab went out to meet Elijah. When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, ‘So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?’” (I Kings 18:16-17).
“You troublemaker!” Faithful Elijah was an out-and-out misery to Ahab. May the enemy look at each of us and cry out the same: “You troublemaker!”
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates