Elijah and Obadiah
Elijah shows up on the scene abruptly, warns King Ahab about an impending drought, and immediately goes into hiding or seclusion. That time of seclusion had extended for about three years. Part of that time he’d spent at a brook in the wilderness, and part he’d spent with a widow woman and her son outside of Israel. But now this seclusion was about to end. God was ready to send rain to end the drought, and in the process, God would use Elijah to perform one of the most spectacular miracles recorded in the Bible.
God had told Elijah in 17:3 to “hide thyself” from Ahab, but now he commands him to “show thyself” to Ahab (18:1). And thus begins the famous story of Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.
But before we get to the main part of the story, we read some details about Elijah’s interaction with an officer in Ahab’s administration, a fellow-believer named Obadiah (Lit. Hebrew: ObedYahu—“servant of the Lord”).
In this passage, we may note God’s sovereign control over the weather and Elijah’s obedience to God’s commands. But today I want to focus on Obadiah, his character, and his relationship to Elijah. I think we can learn a few things from this man, both positive and negative.
Much of this part of the story centers on Obadiah, who he is and what he’s done. We find that Obadiah was “governor of [Ahab’s] house,” i.e., he was the main steward or manager of Ahab’s personal affairs (.3). This would have been a high position in the kingdom, a place of privilege and honor.
We find out several things about this man’s character and works. Some of what we find here is positive, but he also has a couple of weakness or areas of compromise that we should consider.
As we think about Obadiah, we should consider whether the same characteristics may be true of us, both positively and negatively.