Saturday, February 14, 2009

Let's Hear It For the Bit Players!

“And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” (1Kings 18:3-4)

         To me, this is a prime example of each one fulfilling his or her God-ordained ministry in life. These two men—Elijah and Obadiah—served God in completely different ways, in completely different situations. Elijah’s ministry was colorful, controversial, and at times, confrontational. God provided his needs in unlikely, and some might have said questionable ways. He challenged King Ahab, his wife, Jezebel, and their heathen gods, in every way he could. He might answer to the present day label, Fundamentalist. If made into a movie, the life of this remarkable man would be an action film, to say the least.

         On the other hand, if Elijah puts one in mind of a Fundamentalist, Obadiah might resemble the Evangelical. It would be easy for shortsighted people to put him in the same category as the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz, a secret disciple, as it were. But if you did, you would miss an important lesson, I think. To question his situation in Ahab’s court would mean that we would be forced to look at those in Caesar’s household, who befriended the apostle, Paul, with the same caution (Philippians 4:22). Don’t forget; it was from this very position that Obadiah was able to hide and feed over a hundred of the prophets of the Lord, who, it is safe to say, would have starved to death, during a dangerous time of persecution. Elijah may have thought he was too hesitant in his dedication (vv. 11-16); but then Elijah doesn’t strike me as someone who would have much patience with a man who lacked his own bravado! I think God must have known we would be tempted to write this good man off (and some do, by the way)…especially in such close proximity to the spectacular Elijah; so He made sure we understood, “Obadiah feared the Lord greatly.”

         We should be careful of underestimating those we consider as being less engaged, not in the thick of the battle. We all have our own assignments; and to presume one place to be more important than another is to assume the exclusive prerogative of our Great Commander. If God has put someone on center stage, his or her place may be more visible; but it is of no greater consequence than that of the so-called, “bit players,” or even those who might be considered as working behind-the-scenes.

         After all, there is nothing more spectacular than obedience.


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