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Introduction: several men were named Obadiah in the Old Testament. This man, in this story, lived during the days of Ahab and Elijah. He was known for a few things, even though he is only mentioned in one passage of Scripture.

Text, 1 Kings 18:1-5, KJV: 1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. 2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria. 3 And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: 4 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.)

Obadiah was first known as a believer in the LORD, God of Israel. This would have been difficult, at best, during the days of Ahab. Israel, the Ten Northern Tribes, had generally rejected the God of Israel and worshiped the golden calves, set up by Jeroboam I soon after he became king (1 Kings 12). How many of the northern people remained true to the God of Israel may never be known. He was one, as were most likely his parents, who named him Obadiah which means “servant of the LORD”.

Oddly enough, he was chosen to be part of Ahab’s staff! The text tells us that Obadiah was “governor” of Ahab’s house. The duties are not specified but it’s likely he was in charge of many things. This could be a parallel situation to Joseph, who was named “overseer” of Potiphar’s household (Genesis 39:1-6). How much Obadiah was actually able to do for the LORD while being employed by an idolatrous king is anybody’s guess, but he was able to do some things.

What he could do was somehow, during a famine, and during active persecution of God’s true prophets, was to feed them and hide them. Obadiah managed to protect two groups of 50 prophets each, by finding a pair of caves where they could stay and he gave them bread and water for food and drink. Again, how he was able to do this is never known, but God knew. For Obadiah, that was probably enough.

Yet he was also known for being a messenger between Elijah and Ahab. Verses 7 through 16 describe some of the conversation between these two. Obadiah did inform Ahab, who had been looking in many places to find Elijah, that Elijah would indeed Ahab.

Conclusion: This Obadiah was a believer in the God of Israel even though the king was not. Even so, there is no indication Obadiah gave up his faith in God. Obadiah also took it on himself to provide for 100 of God’s prophets—who needed all the help they could get, apparently!

No matter who employs us, we can be faithful to the LORD even as Obadiah was. We may not be asked to do the same things he did, but we can still be a witness for our Lord as he was.

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)

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