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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Elijah and Obadiah

    1 Corinthians 15:46:  The spiritual did not come first, but the natural and then the spiritual.

Elijah and Obadiah

        In the third year of the drought and famine, “the Word of the Lord came to Elijah.” 1 Kings 18:1  The Word of the Lord is Jesus! Jesus was the Word of the Lord in Genesis 1:3 who called all things into existence. He is the Word of the Lord throughout scripture. Jesus is and will always be the voice of God. (see John 1:1-18) He is the Eternal Word of God.  This is why God's Word will never die (cease to live).  Jesus who is eternal is the Word.
        Previously, God had told Elijah to hide himself. (see 1 Kings 17:3) While Elijah is in hiding, God will accomplish two things: 1) He will protect Elijah from the wicked Ahab and Jezebel; and 2) He will teach, train and equip Elijah to accomplish God's purpose for his life. In silence and solitude, God will take Elijah deeper so He will increase in Elijah's life, and Elijah will decrease.  John the Baptist who came in the Spirit and power of Elijah said, "He (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease."  John the Baptist was a prophet under the Law.  John knew that he had to decrease so Jesus could now increase.  John understood that Jesus is the Son of God and far greater than him.    Jesus couldn't tell others not to obey the Law while He was still living on earth because He had to shed His blood to pay the price of the penalty of the Law.  Jesus obeyed the Law as He walked the earth so He would be "without spot or blemish" as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and fulfills the Law.  John the Baptist who represented the Law and the Prophets pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God.  The lambs used for atonement in the Older Testament were earthly lambs chosen by man, but Jesus is the Lamb chosen of God.  Jesus is the Eternal Lamb of God. John the Baptist understood this. In Revelation regarding the throne of God, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb sixteen times. (Revelation 6:1; 7:9; 7:14; 12:11; 13:8; Rev:14:1; 14:4; 17:14; 19:9; 21:9; 21:22; 21:23; 21:27; 22:1)  He is only referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah once.  (Revelation 5:5)  Why?  He was not going to rule from the throne of God as a Lion but as a Lamb. (peacefully). He came the first time as a Lamb led to the slaughter.  He will sit at the throne with God and rule as a Lamb of peace.  
         Ahab has searched all over to kill Elijah but to no avail. The last place Ahab would think to look for Elijah would be in Sidon, his wicked wife Jezebel's home territory and the place of Baal worship. But God sent Elijah there for further refining by a gentile woman.
        God now calls Elijah out of hiding. Elijah has been in hiding and obscure. First Elijah was to hide himself, now he is to show himself.  The land is dry, hard, and cracked.  There has been no water in the Land for three years.  Without the water of the Holy Spirit and Word of God, we too are dry, hard-hearted and cracked.  The Word of the Lord tells Elijah to “go and show himself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.“ 1 Kings 18:1  If Elijah obeys the Word of the Lord, He will send rain on the land and the famine will be over. So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.  This man of God who once ran from the wicked Jezebel has grown so much in His trust and confidence in God that he will go to Ahab face to face in spite of Ahab's hatred and rage against him.  Elijah will face this "roaring lion" head on!  Elijah “went” and “did” as the Word of the Lord said. He will boldly come to the very one who is trying to kill him because God instructed him to do so!  God had prepared Elijah for this. Elijah had no fear. He trusted God. Like Elijah and this gentile woman, believers in Christ are to be doers of God's Word, not hearer's only. (James 1:22) The bible says that the woman at Zarephath also “went” and “did” as Elijah had instructed her. The obedience of both the Jewish prophet and the Gentile woman will bring blessing to others and defeat to the false gods and their false prophets.  This is a picture of Jesus and His Bride who through obedience to God's Word will defeat Satan and his demonic host.
        The power of God brought resurrection life to the son of the woman in Baal's own territory of Sidon, just as Jesus brought resurrection life in the devil's territory on earth. Now the power of God will expose and defeat the powerless, false god Baal on Mount Carmel, just as Jesus defeated our spiritual enemy Satan on the cross of victory.  Elijah had no one but God to protect and guide him as Jesus had no one but God as He suffered His agonizing beatings and death.
        The situation in Samaria is grave. The famine is severe and and Jezebel is killing God's true prophets because of her vengeance against Elijah. If she can kill Elijah and all of God's prophets, then God's power will be eliminated and her will would be done. But God has his man Obadiah hiding 100 of God's prophets and supplying them with food and water even in the midst of a drought and famine. (1 Kings 18:3) Obadiah hid these true prophets of God in two caves (carved out of a rock) in groups of 50. 5 is the number of grace so 50 is the number of greater grace and jubilee (freedom). 100 is a complete number. In other words, God is preserving just enough true prophets to continue His kingdom work. These prophets are waiting for God's appointed time to come out of hiding and raise their silenced prophetic voices.  
       Christ-followers are also hidden in the Rock Jesus. He abides in us and us in Him as one.  John 15:5:  "If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit."  Jesus will protect us, teach, train and equip us to do the work He has called us to do. Sometimes we will remain hidden in Him until the appointed time that He wants the Word of God deposited within us to be spoken.  While we are waiting, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will teach us the Truth if we hunger and thirst after it.  Then God will release us to speak that Truth to others.
        Obadiah means “servant of Jehovah.” The bible says that “Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord.” v3  Obadiah lived up to his name. What a wonderful testimony of God regarding this man.  Obadiah had won the favor of both God and man. As wicked as Ahab was, he gave this faithful servant of the Lord, Obadiah, charge over his palace. Obadiah's faithfulness and devotion to God had made a way for God to preserve 100 true prophets to continue His work through His people. These prophets were being fed food and water to sustain them. Food and water in the spiritual represent the Anointed Word. If God has you hidden away in the Rock Jesus, He wants you to feed on His Anointed Word and be taught for the next stage of His purpose for your life as He did with Elijah and these prophets.
        The lack of food and water was so great that Ahab sent Obadiah to search for grass to feed his livestock so they wouldn't have to kill them. Ahab was more concerned for his livestock than he was people! (1 Kings 18:5)  People were dying of starvation both physically and spiritually including Ahab!  Ahab was searching for "grass that withers and fades" instead of searching for the spiritual food of the Word of God.  
       Ahab and Obadiah divided up the land.  Obadiah went one way, and Ahab went the other in search of springs and valleys where grass may have grown. But all of the springs had dried up because no rain had fallen. Therefore, there was no grass.  Obadiah went in the right direction.  He met the man of God Elijah in his portion of the land search.  God had a job for Obadiah to do.
      In this account of Obadiah and Ahab, there was no grass. Grass in the New Testament is mentioned in the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus. Jesus told His disciples to “have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties,.” Mark 6:39 Green is the color of everlasting life. Revelation 4:3 says "a rainbow resembling an emerald encircled the throne." It is the throne of God, Jesus and the river of the Holy Spirit that give everlasting life.   5,000 is the number of the fullness of grace. In the fullness of God's grace, Jesus will feed the multitudes bread and meat. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, the people are sitting in groups on the grass. The fountain of living water and life—Jesus--was about to multiply the 5 loaves and 2 fish (bread and meat) to feed the multitudes. 5 (grace) + 2 (truth--agreement -- 2 testaments) = 7 (perfection and completion) The spiritual message in the five loaves of bread and two fish is:   Jesus, the Supreme Prophet of God, will feed the multitudes with grace and truth.  He is the Great Multiplier!  
        Ahab and Obadiah found no green grass or water. God had shut up the heavens from sending rain because of idolatry, and silenced His prophet.  There was also a famine of the Word of God in Israel because of this.  God's prophet's mouth was silenced!  Jesus does the opposite. Jesus will multiply the bread and meat so His disciples can feed the multitudes -- both Jews and Gentiles. Not only was there enough for everyone who was hungry, there was some left over. The Anointed Word of God will never run out as long as there is a servant of Jesus who is willing to eat His Word and share it with others. Jesus has to work through His own in multiplying the seed of Truth and get it out to others. His own are now His flesh and are to speak the Word.  Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 14:16, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Jesus had been teaching His disciples so they were equipped to teach others what they had learned. Little is much in God's hands. Whatever we know or have learned in the bread and meat of the Anointed Word, we can use to feed and teach others to sustain their spiritual life. The Word of God – Jesus-- and the written Word are multiplied in the hearts and mouths of true believers. We are His flesh Body with His Word of Truth in our minds, hearts and mouths. It can only be multiplied if we are willing to study and show ourselves approved and share His Truth with others. Simple obedience by Jesus' disciples brought multiplication and overflowing baskets full in the gospels. 12 baskets of pieces of bread were left over.  12 is the number of Divine government.  It is the Word of God, Jesus, who is the head of God's Divine government.  The bread of His Word never runs out.  It is Eternal.
         In the account of the feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew and Mark Jesus' disciples were in a field or valley, but in the Gospel of John, Jesus went up on a mountainside (high place) with His disciples.  Jesus is always taking His own higher!  The Jewish Passover Feast was near which meant that the time of Jesus' sacrifice was near. Jesus looked up and saw a great multitude of people coming toward Him. Because the time of Passover was near, Jews from all over were coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Jesus asks Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for He already knew what He was going to do. John 6:6 Philip's response is that eight month's wages wouldn't buy enough bread for each one of this great multitude to have a bite.  In other words, we have a problem!  Philip sees the vastness of those hungering  Philip is looking with “natural” eyes. The Word and Holy Spirit cannot be bought or sold. It must be received! Then Andrew speaks up and says, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” vv8-9  Andrew sees the smallness of the resources. He too is looking with “natural” eyes. But Jesus is looking through His spiritual eyes. He will do in the “natural” what He will soon do in the “spiritual” after He has died, is resurrected and ascends, and then the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth—is poured out from heaven. In the Gospel of John, Jesus Himself distributed the bread and the meat to those who were seated (resting in Him) on the mountainside (high place) as much as they wanted. John 6:11 Our rest is in Jesus. He will provide and multiply the Bread and meat of His Anointed Word to all who come to Him. Jesus who is the Anointed Word will feed us as much as we want of His Word. The Bread of God's Word never runs out for those who hunger and thirst!
        Instead of famine and drought as in the days of Elijah, there is abundance and supply in Jesus when His disciples eat the bread and meat of His Word and drink of the water of the Holy Spirit and feed it to others. Jesus multiplies His Truth through His own. If wickedness grows throughout the earth and there is a famine of the Anointed Word being taught and spoken, spiritual lack and death will be the result.
        As Obadiah is walking along, Elijah met him. God is orchestrating this whole situation. Obadiah “bows down to the ground and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah.” 1 Kings 18:7 Obadiah gives reverence to this mighty prophet of God.  Elijah, like Melchizedek, appeared on the scene in the Bible mysteriously and quickly, and left the earth mysteriously and quickly being carried by the chariots of God. Elijah tells Obadiah that it is indeed him, and that Obadiah is to go and tell his master (Ahab), “Elijah is here.” Obadiah is not happy with this directive from Elijah. He knows that Ahab and Jezebel have been searching far and wide to find Elijah to kill him. What if Elijah doesn't show up for the meeting? Obadiah says that the Spirit of the Lord can carry Elijah anywhere. (1 Kings 18:12) Obadiah understands the ways of the Holy Spirit.  Surely Ahab will put Obadiah to death if Elijah doesn't show up. As God-fearing as Obadiah was, he still had doubt and fear in this situation because of the circumstances.
        Obadiah then wants to make sure Elijah knows what he has done in Elijah's absence. While Jezebel was killing God's prophets, Obadiah was hiding and feeding a hundred of them. In other words, I have done all this and now you want me to risk my life by telling Ahab that you are here!  Is this my reward!  Elijah assures Obadiah that “as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.” 1 Kings 18:15 Obadiah knew that Elijah was a mighty prophet of God who spoke God's Word. He will trust Elijah's word.
        Obadiah went to meet Ahab and tell him to go to meet Elijah. Ahab did not kill Obadiah but instead went. No doubt the famine in the land for 3 1/2 years has tamed Ahab a bit.  He along with the people are about to starve to death. God is in control here. Immediately, Ahab falsely accuses Elijah of being the troubler of Israel. Elijah, however, immediately put the blame squarely where it belongs – the sin, idolatry and wickedness of Ahab and his house! “You have abandoned the Lord's commands and have followed the Baals. V18  Ahab must understand that the drought was God's discipline and the soon-to-come rain will be the provision of God's grace.  But first the false God and false prophets must be dealt with.  Then the rain will come!
      Next Elijah tells Ahab to gather the people to Mount Carmel from all over Israel, the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, Baal's female counterpart--the harlot bride. God will show all who the true and powerful God is at this mountaintop experience. First the false god must be exposed.  Then all of the false prophets must be killed according to the Law.  They have led God's people into false truth and false worship.  They must be destroyed.  

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