Mid-Month Blog—Those That Serve—1 Kings 18—October 2016

Vol. 1, No. 10M – 2016Obadiah

Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. 1 Kings 18:3

The land was in a drought—3-1/2 years. Elijah, through God’s power, drove the rain clouds away from Palestine. No greenery was upon the land; dust blew and blew. It was like the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

  1. No sign of rain
  2. No dew upon the land
  3. No relief from the heat and dry

Then God sends His man Elijah to speak to Ahab; to tell him it will rain again. Elijah, on his way to speak to Ahab, runs into an old friend, Obadiah, the governor (the number two in rule under the king).

What do you think when you run into a believer, a friend, who is serving or working under someone who is not a God-fearing person? This is clearly a good guy (leader) serving the bad guy! Scripture tells us that Obadiah was a devoted follower of the Lord (vs. 3). He is in charge of the evil house of Ahab. Does Scripture depict others serving evil people? (Joseph in Egypt, Moses in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, or Nehemiah in Persia)

Note, as Matthew Henry alluded, some strange things about a good person serving in an evil house:

  1. Strange that a wicked person would prefer a person that follows a righteous God
  2. Strange that a good person would even agree to such a position
  3. Strange that a good person would work in buildings containing idols
  4. Strange that a good person would walk among people who were ungodly
  5. Strange that a good person would associate with the “other party”
  6. Strange that a good person did not strive to reform the king
  7. Strange that a good person was not corrupted

If your ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek a little life with the fewest contacts and relations. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon as men and women begin to enlarge their lives, their resistances are multiplied.

God may choose to place us in places of leadership or relationship that are uncomfortable. His intent is for us to bloom where we are planted. We live in a secular society; yet, we are here to accomplish God’s purposes. We are expected to be salt and light. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. We are to live as believers, leaders, and people in such a way that does not allow the world to squeeze us into its mold.

Obadiah never bowed his knee to the god Baal; he kept his heart clean and focused upon Almighty God. He did not allow his circumstances to bring compromise.

Yet I have been a true servant of the Lord all my life. 1 Kings 18:12

Profiles in Leadership–The General

Vol. 1, No. 11 – 2016

The Lord raised up a deliverer.  Judges 3:9-11

The General comes in the hours of darkness and moves through the peaks of triumph.

This General is akin to a four-star military general—Othniel. His name is Lion of God in the Hebrew. Othniel lived in Southwestern Palestine; a man of quality and skill, and full of integrity. He came from a strong blood line; a nephew of Caleb, the “CEO” under Joshua.

Caleb was a man not content with the average, or the commonplace. He did not think in terms of fences, walled-cities, or especially defeat. Othniel observed his uncle to learn how to handle the tough decisions, learning the lessons well. Bulldogs produce bulldogs. Effective leaders produce following leaders.

Othniel is the first of the judges; he had things going for him to provide results:

  1. He is a respected chief of the tribe of Judah. Although he is mature in age, he uses his learning to be a conquering hero.
  2. He is not a man of mere rude strength and dashing inventiveness.
  3. He does not run risks to gain elevated power, which few handle rightly.
  4. He is a person of honor and wisdom; he evaluates the problem and does his best to solve it.
  5. The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, clothing him, controlling him, having possession of him. The Holy Spirit, the invasive influence that transforms a person, is able to address not only the physical, but also the spiritual potentials of a person.
  6. He is a person that first looked inward, judging himself; then judged his people, before moving out to address the conflicts that beset Israel. Self-judgment must always precede approaching the enemy—and it begins upon the bended knee.
  7. He is a person that uses integrity first at home before entering the battles elsewhere.
  8. He stops the leakage of deterioration at home before heading off the enemies abroad.
  9. He follows the training of Caleb; finding the enemy, fixing the enemy in place, then capturing by envelopment (or slugging it out if need be). It is the same pattern General Ulysses S. Grant used in 1861.
  10. He is a winner; he moves forward to win over any oppressor.

After eight years under oppressive factors upon the nation of Israel, in a time when the nation experienced things getting worse and worse, God raised up this extraordinary instrument to retrieve the honor of His Name.

Thus our businesses, education institutions, families and government desperately need people like Othniel to lead, and to develop following leaders. It is what is needed for such a time as this.

But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

One cannot help but to reflect upon our own areas of service and ministry, our own family and nation after reading of Othniel. The time is urgent for leadership and following leaders; the time is urgent to begin upon bended knee.

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