I think I would like to live in the 1800's in London, married to a rich powerful man. I love the furniture... I want to wear those gowns and the long gloves and a bonnet. I would love to ride a carriage. I want to go to a girls school and learn to become an accomplished lady….I already know how to curtsy…..
Sometime I feel maybe I’m even on the wrong planet.
The 60's sound like they were cool. Students were aware of politics unlike today's apathy. The music was great, The Beatles pushing the envelope with each new song… I see the pictures of go-go girls they look so cool.
I would have belonged so well with the " little house on the prairie" days. I love the small schools.
I was born in 1993 but for [over] a decade I have had a persistent feeling I should have lived in another time. For me it would be the 70s … Today's culture just leaves me feeling empty. It doesn't help that all my favorite things (artist: David Bowie, band: T-Rex, film: Rocky Horror Picture Show) are products of that time. …I feel like I am the only one this age who feels like that. Others just love Bieber, One Direction, Twilight etc crap.. And it's not just about music or movies. Also this social media obsession, partying, wearing trashy clothes, over-sexualizing everything... I just feel like an outsider. Argh.
The TRUTH! You are in the right place at the right time.
Obadiah seems out of place, yet God uses him. God needs men and women of faith in every segment of society. He needs Obadiah’s to represent him on the job, in society, in families. (BTW, there is a book named Obadiah, but since this Obadiah and the other Obadiah are 300 years apart, this is not him.) Obadiah is sent by God to help the prophet Elijah. He prepares the way for Elijah to meet face to face with King Ahab. Ahab is after Elijah because Elijah told Ahab a severe drought was coming; Ahab wants Elijah’s head.
1 Kings 18 opens with God instructing Elijah to leave Sidon, travel south to Israel, and meet with Ahab the King. The drought is about to end. We will see next week it ends in a dramatic contest of Elijah confronting the prophets of Ba’al. That’s next week. This week the scripture is Elijah meeting with Ahab to make it clear God is behind all that happens. Elijah’s job is to put the caption on what is happening so the message of God’s power will be crystal clear.
God uses Obadiah in the transition. He appears to be out of place, yet Obadiah is no mere robot, no emotionless, stoic, mindless, follower of God. He questions. He thinks. He is a risk taker. It takes courage to remain faithful to God when you feel like you don’t belong. I believe with all my heart God has you in just the right place at the right time. Obadiah is a tremendous example of a man who lives his faith in a difficult world. I can imagine Obadiah crying out to the Lord, “What am I doing here?”
1 Kings 18:2 ~ When Elijah receives the call from God to see Ahab, the prophet obeys. The assignment involves danger, but he makes the journey south to Samaria. God arranges it so two other men also make journeys at that time – Ahab and Obadiah. The king wanted to find food for his animals. Obadiah’s role was to help his king. God is orchestrating the meeting of Ahab and Elijah, using Obadiah to prepare the way. The Lord is in control…If you are feeling out of place wondering if God made a mistake, start paying attention to the details and how God works things out….
A few days ago I saw Linda R. in the hospital. She was awaiting the results of tests for heart issues. I prayed before I left: “May the test results be positive, or rather, negative using the language of doctors….” I prayed 2-3 minutes. I opened my eyes. Within 15 seconds, maybe 10, the doctor (I think?) was right behind me and said without missing a beat: “The test results are negative, you are free to go home.” Prayer. Boom. Answer. Message to Linda and me that God is amazingly powerful. God is orchestrating. He sends the right people at the right time. We are never out of place when we are living our faith because God is God. Elijah, Ahab, Obadiah left at the right time for everything to work out according to God’s design.
Ahab does not get God. He knows there is a drought, but rather than turn to God, he decides to look for grass for his animals. Instead of searching for grace, Ahab looked for grass. God decided the time is right for Ahab to learn the lesson of who is in control. If a person rejects the grace of God, the other side of the coin is God’s judgment. If you tell Jesus Christ you do not want him to die in your place on the cross, then judgment it is. Ahab rejected grace, thinking he could find green grass on his own.
God uses the little known Obadiah, a man of incredible faith in the right place at the right time. Obadiah must have felt out of place in the palace of evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. We often find believers in Jesus Christ in places we would never expect.
A quick word about politics. One or both of our presidential candidates may disturb you, so pray for them. And you know who else I want us to pray for: modern day Obadiah’s. God has faithful people in place everywhere including governement. How can you be a strong, faithful Christian in government? Obadiah did. 20 years ago several pastor’s met together in this county to pray, study, encourage one another. One of the pastor’s had an evangelists heart fully believing the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. His denomination, at that time, was transitioning to more liberal positions on social issues, including pro-abortion. Some of us asked him how he could stay in the denomination … “Carl,” he said, “I understand and agree with what you are saying, but God has called me to be a light in a dark place. This is where God wants me.”
Sometimes the feeling we don’t belong may be by design. Because we don’t. But God has greater purposes. God wants us as witnesses. God is up to something.
Look at Obadiah. I love it. God has a sense of humor. Ahab and Jezebel think they are in charge as they try to stamp out the worship of God and put Ba’al on the throne, but not only does he hide Elijah in Jezebels home territory with the widow of Zeraphath, but now in 1 Kings 18:4 we are told Obadiah hid 100 prophets in caves to protect them from death. Obadiah, a servant of the king, was working for God right under Jezebel’s nose.
1 Kings 18:3 gives a beautiful description of Obadiah – he ‘feared the LORD greatly’. Other translations; ‘a devout believer in the LORD’. He was steadfastly faithful to God despite the fact he lived in a wicked king’s palace. Obadiah may be the earthly servant of Ahab, but more importantly he is the servant of the highest God.
Obadiah is a man to be admired. He is obedient to King Ahab and does his part to search for grass in a separate area from the King (1 Kings 18:5-6.) Obadiah is obedient in all matters that are neutral. Obadiah meets Elijah who instructs him to go prepare the way for Elijah to meet Ahab face to face. Obadiah is afraid. Faith does not mean God takes away your fears or inhibitions. Obadiah goes into great detail with Elijah in 1 Kings 18:9-14 of why that might be such a great idea. Elijah assures him God is orchestrating the meeting and Obadiah has nothing to fear (1 Kings 18:15). Obadiah obeys and does his part (1 Kings 18:16.) Obadiah is a great example of what it means to follow God when you feel out of place. Obedience to God does not mean mindlessness.
Some wonderful qualities of Obadiah:
- He has been following God for a long time. 1 Kings 18:12 says Obadiah has served God since his youth. No matter your age, the best day to start serving God is right now….Obviously we cannot go back in time, but you can begin now….The longer you serve him, there is depth, rightness and goodness.
- Obadiah is consistent. There is no indication he ever compromised his faith, in fact, he worked against the interests of the King when what God wanted contradicted what Ahab and Jezebel wanted. Obadiah puts God as a priority. He obeys the king in neutral matters, but goes against the interest of the King if the King’s will is contrary to God’s will.
- Obadiah thinks. He doesn’t just listen to Elijah, but he points out what may be fatal flaws in what Elijah is saying.
- Obadiah trusts. Something about Elijah rang true.
- Obadiah is a risk taker. The whole business of hiding 100 prophets in two caves shows tremendous risk. It is not surprising he dared to approach Ahab about Elijah wanting to meet him.
- Obadiah never gives up. He has hope. Why else hide the prophets in caves except he believes something greater is coming. Never give up.
- Obadiah demonstrates brotherly love for the prophets he hid in a cave.
- Obadiah has courage. As far as we can tell, he was the only believer in the palace. What great courage to go talk to the King about Elijah.
Exit Obadiah. From this point on the story focuses on Elijah once again. But the glimpse of Obadiah is heartening. God uses people in all positions in all places to accomplish his purposes. Obadiah is one of my newest heroes, a man of strong faith and character who found himself as a servant to the evil King Ahab.
When you feel out of place, keep in mind you are out of place with the world. But you are in place with God! I believe with all my heart God has you in just the right place at the right time. Be encouraged by the example of Obadiah: consistently follow God, think, thoughtful questions, listen, trust, love, hope, courage, risk. Obadiah’s temporary home is in the palace of the king, but his eternal home is in the palace of the King of Kings. When you feel out of place, remember that your home is with Christ Jesus. He is in control. He is on the throne. He has you in just the right place at the right time. Amen.
[the following is material that was not in the spoken sermon because it seemed to me to be getting into a different topic from the sermon, but it is a fascinating thought that occurred to me as I studied the scripture ~Pastor Carl]
One more thing about Obadiah. In later centuries, the belief arises among the Jews that the prophet Elijah would return to them right before the Messiah. Elijah would prepare the way for the Lord. Perhaps it has to do with the story that is coming about how Elijah does not die, but he is taken to heaven by a fiery chariot. To this day, when Jews celebrate the traditional Passover meal, they leave an empty chair at the table as a symbol of waiting for Elijah. When John the Baptist burst onto the scene in preparation for Jesus Christ, people asked John, are you Elijah, sent by God. Elijah’s primary legacy is a man who was sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, the Lord in power and splendor. The ministry of preparation, the ministry of announcing the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a tremendous calling. Perhaps, and I am just speculating, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps ~~~ little known Obadiah, was used by God to teach Elijah the ministry of preparation. In a couple weeks, chances are few of you will even remember this man’s name. But God used Obadiah, God will use you, God has his purposes.