‘ Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly ‘ ( 1 Kings 18:3)
The story of Elijah’s encounter with Obadiah is interesting . Obadiah ( not to be confused with the Old Testament prophet of the same name) is a servant of King Ahab, and described as being over the king’s household , and therefore a man of some influence. He is further described immediately afterwards though (in verse 3) as a God fearing man . He fears God more than Ahab and uses his position and influence to shelter and provide for the prophets of God during Jezebel’s persecution. Like Joseph in Pharaoh’s court, or Daniel in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar , Obadiah is a beacon of light in the darkness of Ahab and Jezebel’s reign. During this time he risked his own life to hide and provide for some of God’s prophet’s in a cave to keep them safe from the malicious anger of Ahab and Jezebel.
The first priority of the Christian’s calling is to be faithful wherever God has placed us. It is not to be be successful, to get noticed or to cultivate a following , but simply to be faithful where God has placed us. It might not always be easy to be a faithful follower of Jesus in certain circumstances. The pressure might sometimes be intense to conform, but God gives grace to keep us as He did to Obadiah. There are two good reasons why we must be thankful for such ‘secret disciples’ as Obadiah. In the first place God has a reason and purpose in this situation. Obadiah is able to influence things for good in a better way than most others were. There are many Christians today who are in exactly the same situation, able to witness for Christ and to support His cause for good. The secret disciple can often be useful to the master, in imperceptible but significant ways. The second reason is that God gives grace in such situations, the secret disciple is never alone . It is remarkable how God uses the weak things of this world to confound the wise ( and indeed the powerful) . Let us also remember the wonderful service that two of the New Testament’s great secret disciples undertook.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus two secret followers of Jesus , showed that they feared God more than the Sanhedrin, Pilate or even Caesar , and their names will ever be remembered for their brave servanthood in asking for and burying the body of the Lrod Jesus. The day comes for Obadiah, Daniel , Joseph, Nicodemus and perhaps someone reading these notes, when they must come out into the open as witnesses for Jesus .