The Challenge

“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 1 Kings 18:18-19

Elijah confronted Ahab about some of his sins, and then commands the King to bring all of Israel plus the prophets of Baal and Asherah to Mount Carmel. This is a classic showdown: good guy meets bad guy and issues a challenge. At this point we don’t know what precisely Elijah is challenging but we can easily surmise it has something to do with the 800 prophets.

We all face challenges in life. Very few of them are as dramatic and “in your face” as Elijah’s, but they are nonetheless real. When was the last time you were challenged (not badgered or nagged or scolded) to go deeper spiritually? When was the last time a friend challenged you regarding something you said or did? Or when was the last time you lovingly challenged a fellow Brother or Sister in something he/she had done or said?

Initially we don’t like these challenges because it exposes weaknesses (even as a challenger, it exposes a weakness of not loving the person enough to tell the truth). And yet, what does Scripture teach: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

These opportunities come along almost daily. Pray that you’ll have the courage to do the right thing when the time comes.

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Boldness

Elijah said, “As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.” 1 Kings 18:15

Obadiah was very concerned about going to Ahab on Elijah’s behalf. He feared that Elijah would abandon him. But Elijah said that if the King would come to meet him, he would be there. It’s a fairly simple statement but don’t miss the significant point in its simplicity. Eliah was giving Obadiah his word that he would present himself to the King if the King, in fact, came to meet him.

We would say today that his ‘word was as good as gold.’ Is your word good as gold? If you say you’ll pray for someone, do you? If you say you’ll be some place at a certain time, do you make the other party wait? If you say the project will be done by a certain date, do you make excuses as to why it is still in process?

We all stumble and I’m afraid this is an area we can all improve upon. Ask the Lord to help you to do what you say you are going to do (or not make the promise in the first place).

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Opportunities

I don’t know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the LORD since my youth. Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the LORD ? I hid a hundred of the LORD’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!” 1 Kings 18:12-14

How is that the man that Scripture calls a “devout Believer in the Lord” in 1 Kings 18:3, can cower when Elijah asks him to get Ahab for him. In his own defense, he told Elijah about how he had helped 100 prophets, an action that would have meant certain death if he had been caught. Hiding and feeding 100 men in two caves is risky business to say the least. Now another prophet wanted to actually inform Ahab of his existence?

Before we’re too hard on Obadiah, think of the many times you were bold for God and all of a sudden you were fearful. All the ‘what if’ questions arose: what if they don’t believe? What if I make a fool of myself? What if they DO believe? What if? What if? What if?

Pray for boldness in your own life. Pray that you will be strengthened with God’s grace and knowledge and that you will go with God’s favor. Then open your eyes to the many opportunities that face each of us.

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Risk Takers

(Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. While Jezebel was killing off the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) 1 Kings 18:3-4

Obadiah was in charge of Ahab’s palace but he also knew what Jezebel was doing with the prophets of the Lord: she was killing them. At his own risk, he hid 100 prophets and supplied them with food and water. Jezebel would have surely put Obadiah to death if she had found out what he was doing.

Fortunately we don’t read about the Obadiahs doing the same thing in our world. If we did, they would cease to exist. But there are men, women, and children risking their lives for the sake of the Gospel. People continue to smuggle Bibles into closed lands, hold secret house church meetings, and even print Bibles in the cloak of darkness. There are others who risk it all too so that those in the closed lands can function. We don’t know their names but God does. And He understands their plight.

Pray for these nameless risk takers. Pray that they will continue to have strength and boldness. Pray that they will continue to fight on behalf of those who don’t have a loud voice in the West. Ask God what YOU should do to help them.

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Influence

Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. While Jezebel was killing off the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) 1 Kings 18:2-4

Obadiah was in charge of Ahab’s palace. Ahab and his wife Jezebel did many evil things, and yet, they had placed Obadiah in charge of the entire palace. Time and time again throughout Scripture, we see that rulers put devout Believers (Joseph and Daniel immediately come to mind) in positions of high authority. Kings and other rulers need people they can depend upon.

Even today we hear stories of many of the Muslim leaders who put Christians in positions of authority. Why? Even though Muslims in general are opposed to many Christian beliefs, the leaders realize that Christians in their administrations won’t lie when asked a direct question. They are honest and dependable. What an incredibly unique opportunity.

Pray for leaders around the world who might have Christians in their midst. The Believers may not have the status of an Obadiah, but as they cook and clean and iron clothes for these leaders, they have opportunities that you and I will never have. And yet, they are often in grave danger at the hands of these rulers.

Pray for boldness. Pray for them to reap a ripe harvest. Pray that they will continue to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ our Lord.

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