One of the little known characters in Scripture is Obadiah. Obadiah was in charge of King Ahab’s palace. He was a devout follower of God. He even risked his life by hiding one hundred of the Lord’s prophets from Jezebel as she scoured the land for prophets to kill.
Coming out of a three year drought that was caused by God and prophesied by Elijah, 1 Kings 18:1-19 tells the story of Elijah asking Obadiah to connect him with King Ahab. Even though he believed in God, and knew Elijah to be a true prophet of God, Obadiah’s response was, “What have I done wrong that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death?”
In this article, I will use this story to reveal six characteristics of today’s modern “Obadiahs.”
Modern-day Obadiahs love Christ, but do not want to take a strong stand (v.3,7-12). Many people want to claim Christ, but not to be identified with Christ. They want to lay low or fly under the radar instead of being a clear ambassador of Christ.
Modern-day Obadiahs try to straddle the fence of lordship (v.7-9). You have heard it said that “Jesus is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.” In reality, it is impossible to straddle the lordship fence because straddling the lordship fence actually is not accepting the Lordship of Christ. Jesus said it this way, “You are either for me or you are against me.” Straddling the lordship fence makes one willing to debate with God.
Modern-day Obadiahs want to be secret about their commitment (v.7-19). Secret Christians have destroyed the mission of the church for generations. Christianity was never meant to be a candle hidden under a basket; rather, it was meant to set up on a hill to provide light to the world.
Modern-day Obadiahs consider the cost versus the personal benefits before choosing to obey (v.7-19). Jesus would say “Those who love me, obey me.” Obedience is always an issue of love and trust. Before committing, they want a guarantee that all will work out comfortably.
Modern-day Obadiahs are struggling to survive (v.7-19). Survival is the natural mindset of people who do not completely trust God with their future. They also want to remind you about the times in the past when them did something risky (v.13) as if that is a free pass to not obey God today.
Modern-day Obadiahs are inconsistent in their commitment to God (v.7-19). Wishy-washy obedience is not true Christ-following. Competing mindsets and priorities lead to inconsistencies and create inner conflict (v.7-19).
The moral of the story: Don’t be an Obadiah. Choose to proudly follow Christ wherever He leads.
Christ-Following 101 is written by Tim Rhodus, Lead Pastor of Cross Church, Carlinville-Staunton-Hettick, thecrossmatters.org, timrhodus.com.