My first job out of college was at this company that manufactured electronic connecting devices for the aerospace industry. I graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in theater arts and a minor in screenwriting. What was I doing at a tech manufacturer like that? I wrote their company newsletter. I would find out about one of the employees that had an interesting hobby on the weekend – snoop for stories and write up a newsletter that made everyone feel like we were part of a really interesting family.
I have since been in ministry for 28 plus years – I worked at that first company for about 9 months. I am not sure if there was another believer in the whole place. There must have been some among the assembly line workers, but among the suits – I just don’t know. There was one guy who felt it was necessary and to everyone’s benefit that he tell a new dirty joke at lunch each day. I liked everyone there, but I really felt alone.
This brings me to a minor character in the Elijah story – a guy named Obadiah. Apparently there were a lot of Obadiahs in the Old Testament and Jewish tradition says this was the guy who later would write the old testament book by that name. He was employed by wicked king Ahab.
We learn in 1 Kings 18 that Obadiah feared the Lord greatly and when Jezebel started killing prophets, Obadiah went and hid 100 prophets in a couple of caves and provided them with food and water. Now hold on a minute right there! 100 prophets? I had always thought there was like one or 2 prophets at a time, but 100? What’s it take to be a prophet? Prophets are interesting characters too – they were eccentric, outlandish, often unwashed or unshaven…can you imagine what 50 of them in one cave would have been like?
The point is that while the official policy of the land seemed to be kill God’s messengers, Obadiah did his part to quietly defy this policy. At the same time, he is faithfully working for his king, Ahab and helping him to come up with a contingency plan – how do we save the cattle during this terrible drought? On a side note, it’s interesting to me – Ahab knows that Elijah turned the water off because Ahab had led the nation into idolatry, the worship of baal, the rain god. How badly this guy’s approval rating must have plummeted during 3 years of drought! All he had to do was to turn from his wickedness and repent and God would bring rain again – but no. He’s still trying to figure out how to hang on in spite of enormous pressure.
Have you ever felt alone in your faith? The only Christian in your workplace? Or stuck in a place where nobody seems to hold the values that you hold? Serve faithfully and hold on. How many prayers must Obadiah have prayed over 3 years of drought? Prayers for rain, for repentance, for policy change, for a new king… Galatians 6:9 can serve as a good reminder for faithful Obadiah’s – “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Enjoy this video about a dad and son who just don’t quit.