Ahab, the evil king of Israel had a servant named Obadiah (“servant of the LORD”), who was a steward of the king’s household and he “…feared the LORD greatly” (1 Kin. 18:3, 12). There was a severe drought which plagued Israel for three and half years causing famine conditions. The prophet Elijah had earnestly prayed to God to bring the drought to prove the impotency of Baal, the Canaanite god of the rain and fertility (1 Kin. 17:1, Jas. 5:17). King Ahab’s wife Jezebel was also extremely wicked and even more nefarious than her husband, for she was executing Israel’s prophets. Knowing of Jezebel’s treachery, the brave Obadiah courageously hid one hundred prophets in two caves, and amazingly managed to feed them bread and water during the famine (1 Kin. 18:4, 13)! Moreover, he accomplished this monumental task surreptitiously and without discovery from the murderous Ahab and Jezebel. Scripture does not indicate if Obadiah accomplished this feat by himself or how long he maintained his perilous rendezvous to minister to the prophets in the caves. However, one could speculate by the drought’s three-and-a-half-year duration, that it was a lengthy undertaking.
Obadiah’s heroic demonstration of faith should be inspiring to Christians who are facing peril while serving the Lord. This small yet powerful couplet of Scripture [1 Kin. 18:3-4], serves as a reminder for the less notable, but extremely faithful servants of the Lord. It is not only the prominent servants of God, e.g. Moses or Elijah, that are pleasing to God; but all who follow God with fear, faithfulness, and with their whole heart, are pleasing to the Lord. Obadiah, first and foremost “feared the Lord” (1 Kin. 18:3). The Apostle Peter called those of the church to: “Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” (1 Pet. 2:17). Obadiah feared God and still honored the king, for he was head of Ahab’s household (v. 4). It is hard to imagine Obadiah getting such an exalted position in the royal house, without reverencing the king. However, even though Obadiah honored Ahab, he “feared” and obeyed God by performing His will—Obadiah saved God’s prophets. Therefore, a Christian can honor his earthly king, while still fearing and obeying his heavenly King. Furthermore, despite the perilousness of being discovered by the murderous King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, Obadiah “risked his life” for the prophets of God. (1 Kings 18:4). Scripture calls all believers to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary: “We know love by this, that He [Jesus Christ] laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 Jn. 3:16, cf. Jn. 15:13). Additionally, Obadiah’s task of feeding a hundred hidden prophets, for over three years, seemed insurmountable but with the strength of the Lord, he was able to accomplish that great feat. (1 Kin. 18:4). There will be times that doing the Lord’s work may seem impossible to accomplish, but He will empower the faithful: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). The same Holy Spirit that worked in the life of faithful Obadiah, will indeed work in any of God’s children; if they have faith, and sacrificially obey; that through Him, great things can be accomplished (Matt. 21:21).