So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Thoughts on 1 kings 18:16-46 - Part 1

Okay. As I'm working on an up and coming sermon series, I'm going to start putting some of my thoughts online and in writing in an effort to ferret some of them out. Here's yesterday's reflections on 1 Kings 18:16 (that I forgot to post). 1 Kings 18:16 says:

"So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah."

- Simple verse...but when you put it in the context of the previous passage, it takes on a little more substance. In verses 8-14 when Elijah tells Obadiah to go tell Ahab that Elijah is here, Obadiah fears for his life. Ahab has looked for Elijah everywhere (but apparently not in his in-laws' backyard...Zarephath...) and when Obadiah tells Ahab that he knows where Elijah is, Obadiah rightfully fears that Ahab will be so angry that he will kill Obadiah. Obadiah was in charge of Ahab's palace and I suspect that Ahab may have heard rumors of his project of hiding 100 prophets of the Lord (though not necessarily), but because of Obadiah's position in the palace, Ahab may have paid no attention to the heresay. But, when Obadiah comes forth to reveal the position of Elijah, Ahab's arch nemesis, Ahab will:

1. Think that the rumors are true and suspect that Ahab was hiding Elijah all along.


2. If he had no idea, he would know that Obadiah fears the God of the Hebrews and would still suspect that Obadiah at least had knowledge of where Elijah had been hiding.


3. Just be so stinking mad after his 3 years of searching in vain that he'll kill the messenger in his wrath.

Whatever the outcome, (And the speculation about Ahab's knowledge of Obadiah's activities over the previous 3 years is just that...speculation) Obadiah has more than adequate reason to fear for his life. It seems reasonable to suspect that a king who's known for wholesale slaughter of the prophets of the Lord would be unhesitant to slay just one more person.

But, in verse 15 Elijah says, "As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today". This verse is Elijah's response to God's command in 1 Kings 18:1. In 18:1 Yahweh commanded Elijah to go to Ahab and Obadiah must exercise faith that Yahweh will in fact defend his own name, for God is the one who commanded his prophet to go seek out the prophet-murdering king in the first place. When Elijah says "As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve...", he's reminding Obadiah what's at stake. God gave his servant a command and as surely as that God exists, his servant is going to obey. One of the lessons that is hammered again and again in the life of Elijah is that obedience is only as certain as the one whom you obey. If Obadiah is going back to Ahab with the hopes that Ahab (his king) will reward his obedience, he doesn't have a whole lot of reason to be confident...and evidently he's not. Seeing that Ahab's palace governor was sent on a mission and once the mission is complete Obadiah fears for his life, one wonders as to what kind of reliable man Ahab was. But Yahweh, on the other hand, is not flippant or wrathful or trite. His word is as unchanging as his person.

So what does Obadiah do? He goes to Ahab, tells him that Elijah is around, and survives. A very anti-climactic verse (16) that comes as the climax to Obadiah's very serious story.

So what's the lesson?

***Risking the wrath of a king is safer than risking the wrath of the King.***


***Obedience is the safest place in Alabama***

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian


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