1 Kings 18:2–6 (NIV)
Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.
ME: THIS IS THE WAY—
YOU: FROM GLORY TO GLORY!
Can we take a minute with Obadiah today? Obadiah was a very righteous man. He worked for a very bad, very wicked king. How do we square these two supremely incongruous facts? How can such a righteous man support such an unrighteous ruler? How can he even participate in such a wicked regime? Is his participation not a full-throated endorsement?
Welcome, my friends, to the real world. This happens every single day in all fifty states and in every country the world over. Very righteous men and women are working for very wicked people. They are serving in large and small companies, multi-national corporations, high-brow and low-bar law firms, governmental agencies, financial institutions, congressional offices, the White House, parliaments, the courts of kings and queens, the administrations of prime ministers, the staff of judges, church bureaucracies and agencies, yes, Christian institutions, schools, colleges, and we could go on.
We are living in a very fallen world which is being run and administrated by very broken people, many of whom are directly or indirectly responsible for propagating corrupted structures and systems, and being otherwise active or complicit in one degree or another with the allowance and doing of wicked and evil things. And these same entities are filled with Obadiah’s. Obadiah is a light in the darkness; a witness of righteousness in a world of wickedness. He was the palace administrator, a seemingly high level officer, in King Ahab’s court. But did you catch this?
(Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)
This is straight out of Schindler’s List isn’t it?! It is said that Obadiah was once a rich man but expended his wealth to care for these prophets of God. It is a remarkable story. He is an active agent of goodness and redemption in an otherwise wicked and corrupted system. Some would say he should resign in protest. It seems God had placed him in just such a place for just such a time. Obadiah would go on to become a prophet—one of the books of the Bible is dedicated to his prophecy.
Many of you reading have been or now find yourself in just such a place at just such a time as this. You are often deeply conflicted. Your finger regularly hovers over the “I resign” button. At minimum you have your bright red, Rubicon line. Remember this—righteousness is not how things look on the outside. Righteousness is reality on the inside. Much is at stake in these situations and much good can be done.
Here’s the thing though. Rationalizations abound. It is so easy to become slowly self-deceived in these kinds of situations. They can be very tricky. And just because you claim to be a Christian does not mean you are acting as an agent of Jesus in the exercise of your responsibilities. You must be an active doer of goodness and righteousness in such scenarios. You must be a luminous witness of Light. It is not about touting your beliefs while phoning in your witness. It is about the quiet, risky, costly—often hidden and known to no-one—deeds of sacrificial love that win the day and gain the applause of Heaven.
Bottom line: The only way we know this—Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord . . .
Was because of this—While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)
This kind of situation is growing in our midst. The future will be increasingly filled with it. More education will not do the trick. We will need real bona fide training in righteousness. As Dorothy famously said to her dog after her radical relocation, “Toto! I’ve a feeling we aren’t in Kansas anymore!”
This is the way—from glory to glory.
Abba Father, thank you for Obadiah. May his tribe increase in our time. Holy Spirit, grant us wisdom and grant us courage for the facing of this hour. Indeed, for the facing of this hour. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen.
Have you ever found yourself in Obadiah’s shoes? Are you there now? How are you engaging it? enduring it? Send us some stories.
For the Awakening,