In the previous post, we have discussed the positive aspect of the life of Obadiah.

We talked about how he choose to fear God while living in the midst of people who had no fear for God. We also talk about his perseverance and courage when it comes to doing what is right. He risked his life to protect the 100 prophets of God

But like all human beings, Obadiah had his weakness. So for this study, I would point out 2 of his weakness.

Obadiah Chooses To Stand At King Ahab’s Side

Obadiah is a fine man who fear God, and he is courageous enough to do protect that prophets whom queen Jezebel wanted dead. But then, as we study into his character, one would tend to notice that he choose to stand on the side of King Ahab. His stand is starkly in contrast with the stand of Prophet Elijah.

Elijah was a man who dare to be on the side of God. His name “Elijah” was a declaration that courage. Elijah means  “Yahweh (Jah) is my(I) Lord(El)”. Elijah is also a courageous man who fear God. He bravely withstood King Ahab and spoke against him when Ahab accuses Elijah of bringing trouble into the kingdom of Israel.

"I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.” –Elijah (1 Kings 18:18)

Throughout the entire story, Obadiah kept silent, he did not dare to speak a word against the King. The stand of Elijah and Obadiah is reflective to the stand of 2 types of modern Christians.

The bible often records of fights between too opposing groups of people. Here are some examples of it

1. The Sons of Korah (Levites) stood against Moses and Aaron
2. Azariah the Priest together with 80 Valiant Priest, stood against King Uzziah
2. The Apostles stood against the Sanhedrin

These are situations, where one cannot afford to be neutral. It is necessary for us to choose a side. In those 3 examples, the conflicting parties are all believers of God. This is a reminder that conflicts do happen within the church. That is why we need to discern where God is standing.

Elijah represents the Christians who spoke bravely against the evils in the world, they choose to stand on the side of God and to preach his words boldly. They will persist even when others refuse to listen, even when treated with hostility. They spoke in hope that the people will repent and to turn back to God

There is another type of Christian, who would choose to take a stand similar to Obadiah. They just maintain their fear of God, they try their very best to make a difference and do the right thing. But yet they do not dare to make a stand openly before others.

Personally I feel that as Christians, we need to have  the fear of God, and we need to try our best to make a difference. But there are times when it is necessary for us to speak out against the evils in the world. Therefore it is important for us to take the side of God and to be open about our stand to the world.

Christians ought to shine as the light of God, having a stand different from the world. For we know that man would face judgment for everything that we have done (Eccl 12:13-14).

I am sure God remembers the faithfulness of Obadiah, his fear of God and his brave acts of saving the prophets of God. But God would certainly wish that Obadiah to have taken a stand with him and not to work alongside evil man like Ahab. God has a valid reason to fill so.

Let us consider what the Psalmist wrote in Ps 1

“ Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel
   of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners,
   Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

   But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
   And in His law he meditates day and night.

   He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of 
   water, That brings forth its fruit in its season,
   Whose leaf also shall not wither;
   And whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalmist (Ps 1:1-3)

Obadiah is certainly different from being like a tree planted by the rivers of water, because of his choice to stand with King Ahab,  he is often faced with situations where he is forced to do something he doesn’t agree. One example can be seen here when  King Ahab  gave him an order to follow.

"Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock.” – King Ahab (1 Kings 18:5)

I am sure Obadiah must be grieved in his heart as he carried out the work. It seems that King Ahab cared for his processions more than the people. He task Obadiah to feed his livestock instead of helping his countrymen during the famine.

Very often, a righteous heart would be grieved when he see wickedness and lawlessness around. Elder Peter once wrote this about Lot living in the city of Sodom

“(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” – Pet (2 Pet 2:8)

Obadiah’s refusal to make a stand must have tormented his heart. Especially when he witness the lawless deeds of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.

I am not suggesting that Christians needs to go around prosecuting people or to speak without wisdom and discernment. But as Christians, we ought to take the side of God. We need to live a life of fearing God and our conduct must be being different from the the world. It is just that, sometimes as we are living our life of faith, we would encounter situations where it is necessary for us to openly be on the side of God. 

Choosing not to do so would only bring grieved to us. It would also incur the wrath of God.  when we witness lawless deeds and evilness around us.

Edmund Burke once said this

“The Only Thing Necessary For The Triumph Of Evil
  Is For Good Men To Do Nothing” – Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797)

Obadiah’s Fear For His Life

Sometimes as I read the story of Obadiah, I wonder what motivated Obadiah to make a choice to keep quiet and not speak out. Perhaps he feels that he needs to survive in order to continue providing help to the prophets.

But as I read his story, it appears to me  that he seems to have a very unique (and at times Morbid) view about God. He seems to worry that God would not protect him and would get him killed. It can be seen in his response to Elijah when asked to bring a message to king Ahab.

“How have I sinned, that you are delivering
your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?”- Obadiah (1 Kings 18:9)

“And it shall come to pass, as soon as
  I am gone from you, that the Spirit
  of the LORD will carry you to a place
  I do not know; so when I go and tell
  Ahab, and he cannot find you, he
  will kill me. But I your servant have
  feared the LORD from my youth.”- Obadiah (1 Kings 18:12)

Obadiah seems to feel that Elijah choice to confront King Ahab is an act of rashness. He felt that the spirit of God would intervene and save Elijah by taking him away.Obadiah feared that if he were to come with Ahab, and not find Elijah there, he would be executed by Ahab instead .

Personally I feel that Obadiah is being really paranoid here, perhaps he is unaware that it was God who instructed Elijah to meet Ahab (1 Kings 18:1). But Obadiah’s paranoia also indicates his fear of death. Perhaps he may have chosen to remain silent before Ahab because of his fear of death.

His fear of death affected his faith in God. If God would save Elijah by taking him away, when then would God allow Obadiah to die in the hands of Ahab? Obadiah’s faith may have been affected because he had seen the ruthlessness of Ahab and Jezebel,

It is natural for humans to fear death, even the faithful queen Esther needed  3 days of fasting before finding the courage to enter the court of King Ahasuerus. Jesus before taking the bitter cup on the cross,  was in such great agony that his sweat becomes like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Lk 22:44)

But even as we fear for our lives, we ought to understand the the Lord would save us to the uttermost. (Heb 7:25). We have to remember what our Lord once said

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me,
  though he may die, he shall live.” – Jesus (Jn 11:25)

Sometimes, we forget that the ultimate objective of our faith is to return to God in heaven. if we truly believe in that, we would not fear dying.

I am not suggesting that Christian should put themselves into danger and to seek death. But we should not fear death. We should entrust our lives to God, this would help us find courage to do everything that God has instructed us to do. 

Ultimately, Obadiah succeeded in bringing the message to King Ahab, which lead on to  to Elijah’s victory at Mount Carmel.

Concluding The Study On Obadiah

In this short 2 part study, we have explored both the strengths and weaknesses of Obadiah. Many of the ancient saints are just like us, they have strengths as well as weakness.

Let us learn from Obadiah the following lessons

1. To fear God under all circumstances.

Obadiah choose to fear God, even though he is a man of power and authority. He choose to fear God even though the people around him stopped fearing God.

2. To have the  perseverance and courage to do the right thing.

Obadiah managed to rescue 100 prophets of the Lord. Such actions requires long term courage. He had to persist in supplying food and water to the Prophets during a famine. In order to do this, Obadiah needed courage to overcome the fear of getting caught and as well as the patience continue working.

However, let us also be mindful of the following

1. Choosing to take a stand for God

Obadiah despite all his courage, did not speak out against the evil acts of King Ahab and Jezebel. That silence bring agony to his heart, especially when he witness the evil acts of his two bosses.

2. Not to be overly Paranoid with Fear of death

While Christians do not seek to be death. One should have the faith that God will save us to the uttermost. While its natural for us to have a fear of death, let us also remember that our Lord is the Lord of life.

Let us remember the words of Jesus

“ For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” –Jesus (Matt 16:25)

Let us learn from Obadiah and may God help us in all that we do.