1 Kings 18.7-8
“And as Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him. And Obadiah recognized him and fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here.”
Obadiah was out in the countryside searching for grass to feed Ahab’s horses and mules, as well as hiding the 100 prophets of God in a cave and feeding them.
Providentially, as Obadiah was traveling about fulfilling his responsibilities, he came upon Elijah. Keep in mind that Elijah had been away from Israel for three years, so Obadiah must have been quite surprised to see him.
The biggest shock for Obadiah, however, was that Elijah directs him to tell Ahab that Elijah had returned to Israel. In Obadiah’s mind, because of Ahab’s deep hatred for Elijah, considered this tantamount to a death sentence.
“And he said, ‘How have I sinned, that you would give your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?’ As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. And when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would take an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you.” (1 Kings 18.9-10)
Obadiah knew that King Ahab conducted an exhaustive search for Elijah to punish him for the drought that his prayers imposed on Israel. Obadiah feared that if he announced that he met Elijah, and the prophet disappeared again, Ahab would punish Obadiah for letting Elijah get away.
“And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here.’ And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you I know not where. And so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have feared the LORD from my youth.” (1 Kings 18.11-12)
Obadiah was afraid, and that fear threatened to weaken his faithfulness. In an attempt to avoid the danger of telling Ahab that Elijah had returned, Obadiah tried to appeal to an argument of “Haven’t I done enough? Haven’t I already put much at risk to defy the evil king Ahab? Please don’t ask me to do more!”
“Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the LORD, how I hid a hundred men of the LORD’s prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water? And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here”’; and he will kill me.” (1 Kings 18.13-14)
Elijah’s response to Obadiah was simple and straightforward. He admonishes Obadiah to stand with the Lord, just as Elijah is doing. Obadiah should not let his fear of Ahab cause him to fail to obey God.
“And Elijah said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him. And Ahab went to meet Elijah.” (1 Kings 18.15-16)
In the battle against corrupt leadership, everyone plays a part. We should be guided by faith, not fear.