To them he was irreplaceable. The hand of God was upon his life, like Joseph. This was the case with Joseph. Joseph was so valuable.
Wherever he went, everything he touched turned to gold. That was Joseph. So, it is so many lessons here because this is a man who prospered. And it is very dangerous for a Christian to prosper in this world, to become rich and respectable because of pride.
But it is doable. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of 1 Kings.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now, here is Pastor Rick as he concludes his message in 1 Kings chapter 18 called, Return of Elijah. Obadiah was a quiet believer. Devout, the Bible tells us. True, steadfast, in a very difficult position. Elijah has no right.
I love Elijah the prophet and so does God. But these are the facts. And they are here for us to examine ourselves. Do I do this?
Do I look at others? Now granted, there are some Christians that are just wacky and they cause problems. I'm not talking about those. Then there are others that just do it differently and you just have to be careful that you don't end up warring against God, criticizing their style of ministry. Well, here is Obadiah performing his duty in a less open manner and is actually saving lives. Jezebel has demonstrated they will kill these men and he has demonstrated that he will do all he can do to save them. And that's what his faith did.
Saved lives. He's working for a wicked government. I hope we have devout Christians somewhere in what is called the Department of Justice. There's not much justice coming out of that place. But I hope there are believers and I'm confident that there are true believers there and they are the salt of the earth and they are influencing towards righteousness.
You know, when you have a government that is doing everything against God, we have no right to think that, well, they're all that way. And this is one of the lessons that I think comes out of here very clearly. Elijah's going to learn in this exchange and about this man. As I mentioned, he seems to dismiss his heroism. 1 Kings chapter 19, this is what Elijah, what happens with him and God. So he runs from Jezebel.
He's not all the man he thought he was. So he said, I have been very zealous for Yahweh, God of Israel, for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and they seek to take my life. See, that's not true. And God makes sure, so God deals with him and says, oh, by the way, I'm not letting this pass.
You're not the only one. You're not all of that. And the beloved Elijah, he tells the story because he knows. So anyway, the real danger that exists for us in viewing those who serve in the rear with the gear as being somehow not as valuable. And the world does this. The church does this. Christians do this.
We're all susceptible to this because we are Christians. And the tendency of the brave is to undervalue quiet bravery. You cannot charge him with being a coward. You cannot say Obadiah is not a coward. But we've got to get to the foundation.
We've already touched on his parents being the foundation, the influence in his life. Let's not undervalue and underestimate secret service. I did not say secret servants.
I said secret service. I don't think there was anything about this man that denied his faith. He was so valuable to Ahab and Jezebel.
They tolerated him and that happens. In some respects, Martha disdained Mary for not serving as she was serving. I mean, Mary probably said, listen, I didn't promise to feed these boys.
That was your plan. So anyway, you love the Lord saying, hey, now that doesn't mean Mary was a slouch. I mean, that doesn't mean that at all. You can't say, Martha Denver said, well, she always does this. Mary just said, you know, today I'm not cooking. So that's a great story and Martha learns her lesson and Martha seems to now say, okay, fine, this is who I am. I'm going to serve this way and she can be lazy over there with the Lord. Anyway, it says here in verse eight, and he answered him, it is I, go tell your master.
See, go tell your master again. But this is the scene, as I mentioned last session, in the movie that becomes one of the best scenes. When Elijah, you would say to someone, did you love that scene when they recreated that moment from the scripture? When Elijah shows up to Obadiah, you've got these two dynamo servants that serve in two completely different ways. One is dressed in a suit and the other is dressed in some dead animal skin that he found in the middle of the road. One calls fire down from the other guy.
The other one brings water and bread to God's people. And then he says, Elijah is here. And he says, I'm not telling him anything. That's pretty much what Obadiah is going to say until you sign off on this.
And then we're going to come to that. Ahab and his apostates, they were nothing like this man. And the significance of this word is found when he says Elijah is here. The significance is that Elijah brought action.
And so did Obadiah. Well, verse nine, and he said, how have I sinned that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab to kill me? So he's not backing down. He's still referring to Elijah as his Lord and that he's saying, I'm your servant. He's trying to say, I'm on your side. He says, you're going to get me killed. He's going to explain this also. He expresses this three times from verse nine through 14. That you're going to get me killed.
Like he's saying, I don't think Elijah is registering. This is my life. I think he's just like, go get your master.
And it's all about me. Verse 10, and Obadiah is still speaking. As Yahweh, your God, lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you. And when they said he is not here, he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you. And that was part of the treaties then. This shows that Ahab had a sizable army. He had treaties.
He had contacts. And it was very serious about this contract on the life of the prophet Elijah and was exhausting resources, searching for him in his wrath, his intense wrath of this righteous man. Verse 11, and again, dare to stride up to him and say, you know, the famine's coming because of your wickedness. Verse 11, Obadiah says, and now you say, go tell your master Elijah is here. Now, I don't know how he phrased this.
He's probably more of a statesman. And he says, and now you say, go tell your master. I think a little sarcasm maybe. Elijah is here. Well, I would like to think that he said it this way. And now you say, go tell your master Elijah is here.
I don't know if he said it that way, but that had to be what's going on in his head. You cannot just show up and say, hi, I'm back. Go tell the king that's been trying to kill me that I'm here.
It's not so simple. What did Elijah know about the court of the king? Anyway, Obadiah, a righteous man, working for an unrighteous and wicked man, he knows statesman.
He knows what's happening here. And Elijah doesn't get it yet. Verse 12, and it should come to pass as soon as I am gone from you that the spirit of Yahweh will carry you to a place I do not know. So when I go and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I, your servant, have feared Yahweh from my youth.
I mean, you've got to think there's some humor in this. You're going to tell me, go tell Ahab I'm here, and then you're going to be swept away, like you were last time, to who knows where. And interesting, God doesn't tell Obadiah, Elijah's going to meet you on the road. He gets nothing.
He gets no indication about this. Anyway, here he is, fighting for his life with the men of God. It's a vindicating moment. It's exciting. He speaks loud and clear. He's saying, you know, Elijah, you can hear the voice of God. Now you need to hear my voice. I'm right here in front of you. And you've been gone for three and a half years, and you expect me to be comfortable with this plan.
Last time you didn't tell anybody you were leaving. He says, but I, your servant, again, the comeback to Ahab's not my master. I work for him.
Yeah, it's a professional relationship, but that's it. He says, have feared the Lord from my youth. Now here we are, one of the great moments. This is another, oh by the way moment.
You've been, you know, you've been treating me pretty harsh here. By the way, from my childhood, I've been a follower of Yahweh. Time has not changed this. However old he was, his religion, his true religion, had not eroded. He did not allow all the evil around him to erode his belief in God. It's what Paul said, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? And he itemizes the most challenging things. Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, perilous sword.
Well here's an example. So, the youth, the younger church attendees, you can only answer, are you a true believer or are you just a churchgoer? And it's true for all of us. Here's some verses from the scripture of the men of God standing up and saying, thanks mom, thanks dad, whichever influence it was, hopefully both, but not always is that the case. Psalm 22 verse 10, I was cast upon you from my birth, from my mother's womb, you have been my God. That David, right? David is saying, I was born in a Christian home.
Well, you know, making the connection, of course. I was born a believer in this sense. I was born into a home and I benefited from it and I took advantage of it in a righteous way.
I did not exploit it, but I availed myself. Psalm 71 5, for you are my hope, oh Lord Yahweh, you are my trust from my youth. Again, Psalm 71, this time verse 17, oh God, you have taught me from my youth to this day, I declare your wondrous works. Well, how did you get taught from the youth? Well, mom raising him up, dad's out working in the fields, you know, whatever he's doing out there and mom's home raising them in the house and the things of the Lord. Acts 26, the apostle Paul, my manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. He's saying, I was raised in Judaism. He's saying, from my youth I've been exposed to the things of Yahweh, to the scriptures. What he did with them was corrected, was corrected by God. And so, you know, we have Timothy, you know, Paul telling him, don't forget, don't forget who you've learned these things in your childhood from, your mother and your grandmother.
So this is Obadiah. I have feared Yahweh from my youth. Many have to wait until they get older, life's beat them up and they come to Christ and many of them serve like just, you know, courageous servants. Another pastor wrote many years ago, to be a believer in God early in life is to be saved from a thousand regrets. How many people have made mistakes, messed up their lives because they did not follow the Lord they were raised with?
Or maybe they weren't raised with. Why should you hear good Bible preaching time and time again? You say, oh, it's Wednesday, got to go to church. Oh, it's Sunday, got to go to church. Why should you have the privilege of hearing that when there are people that never hear the name of Jesus? Why? What are you going to do with that?
That's for adult, that's for me, it's for youth alike. When he was found to be old, what he was when he was young was not lost. His mom would have just been praising the Lord. That name meant something to him, servant of Yahweh. He proved himself in the way he served, something that was wicked that still wanted him around in his dialogue with this prophet.
I do not believe that he covered up his belief. I think he would have moved to the northern kingdom as many of the priests and Levites did when Jeroboam came to the throne and other kings came in. I think he would have either fled or died a martyr's death, but I strongly believe they just left him alone because that's how valuable he was. And to them, he was irreplaceable. The hand of God was upon his life. Like Joseph, this was the case with Joseph. Joseph was so valuable. Wherever he went, everything he touched turned to gold.
That was Joseph. So, it is so many lessons here because this is a man who prospered. And it is very dangerous for a Christian to prosper in this world, to become rich and respectable because of pride. But it is doable. We can become rich and, well, I don't know about that.
I'm still not, I haven't perfected that one. Anyway, we can become successful and not lose our faith. And so, this man shows us that it can be done without failure and have lives saved in the process. And for him, these were physical lives.
For us, it can be both. Verse 13, was it not reported to my Lord that what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid 100 men of Yahweh's prophets, 50, to a cave, and fed them with bread and water. So, when he says, was it not reported, he is saying, listen, this is knowledge at least in the believers' community, amongst the remnant, at the very least.
People know that I saved these men. How come you don't know this, Elijah? And Elijah could have said, well, I've been here. I'm sorry, but he doesn't.
He's gonna dismiss it. Hebrews 13, 38, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth. And the world was not worthy of these prophets that were hidden because of the evil in the land. Verse 14, and now you say, go tell your master Elijah's here.
He will kill me. And that's the third time he mentions that. So, he's extremely prudent. And neither was compromised in his conscience nor jeopardized in his position.
He retained his position. He retained his righteousness. And he's letting the prophet know. Verse 15, then Elijah said, as Yahweh of hosts lives, verse 15, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today. Well, Obadiah is gonna trust his life on the word of this prophet. Now, the Hebrew term here, Yahweh of hosts, means literally Yahweh of armies.
And that is the armies of Israel and of course the armies of the angels, of the other created beings that are in the spiritual realm. So now, before we move to verse 16, we find that Obadiah has made himself important to Elijah. Elijah needs him to mediate a meeting, verse 16. At least arrange it. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet him.
Could you imagine? Obadiah shows up and he says, I found Elijah. Ahab does not doubt his servant. He's not the kind of man to doubt.
He believes him and acts on it. Ahab ends up lashed to a well. Oh, no, wait, that's another Ahab. So, verse 17, then it happened when Ahab saw Elijah that Ahab said to him, is that you, O troubler of Israel? So they're just flying, these insults flying around.
This is a tense moment. Anything that interfered with Ahab was troublesome, including God. God was troublesome to Ahab. There are fools like this to this very day. Their definition of God is idiotic because it comes not from God.
How can you have a definition about someone that God, a deity, a supreme being, that you just make up? I used to belong, I used to be in that camp, and Jesus saved my wretched soul by introducing himself to me. And thank you, Lord, that I grabbed it immediately. Ahab later greets the drama that unfolds in chapter 21, greets him when, again, Elijah is sent to him and said, you know, stealing that vineyard from Naboth, God's going to do you in for that. So when they're approaching each other, Ahab says, have you found me, oh, my enemy?
So there's no love lost between these two. In fact, let's read it. 1 Kings 21, verse 20. So Ahab said to Elijah, have you found me, oh, my enemy? And he answered, I have found you because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of Yahweh.
I found you. Rararararara, mumbling what he really thinks of him. Anyway, verse 18. We're not going to even attempt to get to the end of this chapter.
We're splitting it up in two because we have the big showdown coming that merits an evening by itself. Verse 18, and he answered, I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of Yahweh and have followed the bowels. So this tense moment, Elijah didn't let it pass.
Yeah, I'm not the troublemaker, it's you. He did not ignore that statement. Wicked people, they get to a place I strongly believe when they become this wicked where truth is totally irrelevant. And nothing is relevant to them but what they want. It's the only thing that matters in their life.
And they become just utter fools. I've been binge watching these custom agents, something about borders, I don't remember the name of it, on YouTube, they're free. And it's these Canadian customs agents and the people are coming through and the agent will randomly pick somebody and say, so is there anything in your bag that I might find that's illegal?
Nope. And then he opens the bag up and there's two dead bodies. Well, that's not true, but it's just something like, are you kidding me? The guy just asked you a question and he says, how come you didn't tell me? And they just can't tell the truth. They just can't. They're going to get caught.
They're going to get arrested or denied entry or fined or whatever. Is there any meat in your suitcase? No. He's got seven of them. I'm not kidding. One guy said, they're bringing meat from other countries. How come you didn't declare it?
Oh, I forgot I had it. This should be a law that if your excuse is that stupid, you get shot on the spot. You look at this and you see this is real. I mean, these are real people.
These aren't actors. And you just are reminded. Wickedness is just a mystery. But except spiritually, we understand Satan's power to blind people to truth is quite powerful.
And Ahab is that. You would think that the prophet said, it's not going to rain. It's going to stop raining for a long time because God's told me this because of you. You would think when the drought came and he saw this happen, he would begin to change his mind about God. And then the prophet comes and says, you better hurry up, get back to the city because it's going to rain. You would think the prophet would say, look at that.
He called for the rain. I think I'm going to follow his God, especially when he outruns the chariot. That alone should have made him. I mean, you figure the girded up robe and he has to look goofy with those sandals on.
I mean, they didn't even have running shoes. And he outruns the chariot. Anyway, we'll get that next session. He says, in that you have forsaken the commandments of Yahweh and have followed the Ba'al. So he delivers the message. That's what the prophets do. And this constant fascination with these fake gods, it doomed the northern kingdom and its adherents.
So he picked that up because eventually it would cause the demise of that kingdom. 2 Kings 17, so this is what God says. So they left all the commandments of Yahweh their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, which goes all the way back to the beginning of this northern kingdom. Made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Ba'al. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire. Practiced witchcraft and soothed saying and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of Yahweh to provoke him to anger. Therefore, Yahweh was very angry with Israel and removed them from his sight. There was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. And that won't stand. And the same thing will happen to them. If you go through Jeremiah and you read about Zedekiah the king, you just want to just address that guy.
He's just such a spineless, he causes so much grief and it just would not have been much to stand up to the evil. Verse 19, now therefore send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the 450 prophets of Ba'al and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table. So the government is now subsidizing the pagan pastors. They're feeding them.
They're taking care of them. We have to remember, especially pastors, it's not a popularity contest. I strongly believe once a pastor becomes preoccupied with being popular, he can't pastor. He has to be popular with God.
And I mean, he's human. So time to time he'll struggle with this and that and he'll feel the sting of them, but it is imperative that he keeps focused on God. These guys here, they were just loved by Jezebel. Elijah, when he gets to Mount Carmel, he won't have this following. He won't have 900 adherence to Yahweh. He'll be pretty much alone, which is part of his statement to God, I alone, but he went too far with it. 900, 900 witnesses, just in these clergy of what God is going to do on that mountain, the great and awesome arrival of God, that was their chance to repent. That was their moment. So we can't ever look at the Old Testament and say, God is mean.
You can never do that and be honest or true to what's happening. Jesus said to the disciples, unless you repent, you too will perish. And these are the men that followed him, that he picked and he said, you know what, if you don't repent of sin, because they're the ones that asked him, hey, the wall fell on these guys, Pilate killed these other guys while they were doing worship.
You know, were they really bad? And Jesus said, they're like everybody else, but it comes down to repentance. If you don't repent, you too will perish.
Well, lessons learned. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.
We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 1 Kings has had a lasting imprint on your life. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series or share it with someone you know, please visit crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's crossreferenceradio.com. Our time with you today is about up, but we hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the word of God. Join us again as Pastor Rick covers more in the book of 1 Kings on Cross Reference Radio.
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