Obadiah’s Excuse

Handwritten page from the first book of Kings chapter 18 verses 12 through 21.
1Kings 18:12-21

Synopsis     1Kings 18:12-21     6/7/2019 

Obadiah defended himself to Elijah. He didn’t want to be the messenger between Elijah and King Ahab. He was afraid that if things didn’t go well with Elijah, that Ahab would blame him. 

In the process, Obadiah defended his faithfulness. And he mentioned how Queen Jezebel had persecuted and murdered the prophets of God. In this context, he explained how he alone had hid one-hundred prophets to protect them from the persecutions. 

Elijah ignored Obadiah’s protests. And, he gave him a message to convey to King Ahab. The message was an instruction to meet him on Mount Carmel. In addition, he asked Ahab to assemble all the people of Israel and a large number of priests of both Baal and Asherah.

On the mountain, Elijah challenged the people. Specifically, he asked them to choose between serving the God of Israel or Baal.  Elijah had set up a showdown to demonstrate God’s power and legitimacy once and for all times.  

Obadiah’s Excuse 

As written, it’s almost comical the way that Obadiah attempted to evade Elijah. He had all these excuses justifying why he was not the right guy to give the message to King Ahab.  

And they weren’t small reasons. He was afraid for his life. In those days, true believers were persecuted just for their beliefs. Not to mention the fact that he had already risked his life saving other prophets. He was vulnerable. So, he felt entirely justified in refusing Elijah’s request.

But Elijah wasn’t having it. In kind, he refused to accept Obadiah’s excuses. As a result, he didn’t debate. And, he didn’t attempt to persuade. He simply restated his message. And for his part, Obadiah did what was required of him.

My Excuses 

I think that I try to do God’s will. But the truth is, most of the time I feel like I’ve failed. I fail God with my sins. And I’ve failed to provide the life that I imagined for my family. And, I fail to be there as a parent – I fail to know what to do or say when my children are struggling. 

But perhaps more specifically, I’m often tempted to believe that I simply don’t have anything to offer. I am, after all – only a vapor in the wind. Failed and unrighteous – what use could I be to the God of all creation? 

And then it comes. A request. Someone has asked me to do some small thing. And a still small voice inside my head lets me know there isn’t going to be any evading. I protest. I know I’m not the best person to do this work. But it’s no use. Jesus is polite. And He forgives my sins. But He never accepts my excuses.

But he answered him, “Please, my Lord, how can I save Israel? My family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.” The LORD said to him: I will be with you, and you will cut down Midian to the last man.” Judges 6:16-17 

June 7, 2019

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