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

Mid-Month Blog—Elijah the Ugly—1 Kings 17—September 2016

Vol. 1, No. 9M – 2016Elijah and Widow

The widow’s son grew weak; worse and worse,  then he died. 1 Kings 17:17

The Liverpool Press made fun of Abraham Lincoln, indicating he had little chance of being the object of hero worship. He had a grotesque figure, long legs, arms made him subject to cartoons; he was ridiculed, and grew a beard to hide his ugliness depicted in his face. Yet, many saw him as faithful, honest, resolute, and courageous—a hero to the many (history writers do not always identify him with great character).

Honest Abe (Rail-Splitter, “The Great Emancipator,” reminds one of an earlier hero, Elijah the Tishbite. Ahaziah, the king of Israel, asked about Elijah, “Who is this man; what does he look like?” They reply was that Elijah was a hairy man with a leather belt. The man, Elijah, had not changed, he was the same man who appeared before King Ahab. He was the same man who lived with the widow of Zarephath and her son. He had not changed in his servanthood to Almighty God.

Elijah seemed to have life on a roll; just your regular leader chugging along and serving those who would abide with him. However, his boss (God) spoke to him and told him to go and live in the village of Zarephath with a widow and her son. The widow welcomed him as a man of God and heeded Elijah’s direction. In a time of famine, the widow’s store of food miraculously remained stable by the hand of God. Good days for the widow and her son.

Then things turn ugly; great sorrow comes upon the widow. Her son becomes sick, then dies. Elijah, the hero, turns into a goat in the widow’s eyes. Just about the time he is going to be awarded the coveted “Man of the Year Award,” he is called a murderer (1 Kings 17:18). It seems that it is all his fault.

It is common for people to depend on their leader, becoming the victim when things do not go well. After all, one must have someone to blame.

The widow takes out her Glock and fires unwarranted bullets:

  1. What have you done?
  2. You came here to make me a victim!
  3. You know about my sin!
  4. You came to cause me grief!
  5. You tricked me into believing in your hope and change!
  6. You were supposed to be The Man!
  7. You have taken the joy of my heart, killing my son!

Elijah, the calm leader, responds:

  1. He carries the burden
  2. He prays over the one he has been given to serve
  3. He serves out of compassion, as a servant-leader

The child is restored and Elijah carries the child back to the arms of the mother—the mother recognizes that Elijah is the servant-leader of God.

Can your mind picture the response of the mother as she lives out her years; in addition, the son’s response as he learns of the servant-leader’s faithfulness even in a time of difficulty.

How is your servant-leadership working for you? It is not how pretty you are, but the direction of your heart.

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