A Man Who Fears God
A Personal Message before the End of the Year
Dear brothers, our life on earth – whether short or long – is too limited as we have a limited time to live in. And as years are passing away and not turning back, I’d like to tell you that our life is so precious and valuable. We have to think attentively how to use it in a right way. That’s why I invite you to sit quietly and consider what you have accomplished and in what points you have failed. If the past years were times of preparation for what is coming next, do you think that you were flexible in God’s hand and that you gave Him a chance to prepare you and equip you for the coming years? What about your dreams and what are the things you want to achieve throughout the next years?
That’s why my dear brothers, as we come close to the thresholds of a new year, I encourage you to sit alone with yourself and to review your life before God. And in the light of God’s standard in His word and in His planned timing for you, I do beseech you to ask yourself if you live for Him and according to His will to your life or not?
In the last days, my heart was burdened with one of the men of God in the Old Testament. Although the scripture did not mention him a lot, except in one story that took fourteen verses only, yet I did find through his life a strong message and an effective example to learn from and to review our lives in its light. In 1kings 18, as Elijah the fiery prophet, was filling the scene with his effective and strong presence, we are obliged to notice Obadiah who was a powerful and Godly believer. And although the Holy Bible always demonstrates faithfully the points of weaknesses and that of strengths in the lives of all men of God to teach us lessons from their lives, yet the strong points in Obadiah’s life are so strong to the degree that they attract our attention greatly.
Stars Shinning in the Midst of Darkness
What a right sentence! It is a fact that stars surround us all the day in the sky, but we do neither notice them nor see them with our own eyes except when it is dark; at this time only stars shine and glitter vividly in the midst of the sky. The more there is darkness, the more the stars glitter in beauty. In application and similarity, the Bible in the Book of Daniel, similes the powerful believers who live according to God’s will with the stars. It is said: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12: 3).
In such a way, Obadiah was shinning brightly in the midst of the sinful and evil society he was living in. If you catch just one quick glimpse into that society he was brought in together with the people around him, you can discover easily and clearly the thickness of the darkness at that era, and at the same time you’ll be able to observe how Obadiah was living faithfully as a shinning star.
At that time Ahab was the king of Israel and was married to Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians who was the priest of Baal. According to Ahab’s position, he was leading all the kingdom of Israel to worship and serve Baal. The Bible says clearly “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him” (1Ki 16:30). “.. and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (1Ki 16: 33).
It is obvious that those who were still following and worshipping the Lord became very few and hidden among the multitudes of the society, to the degree that Elijah - while speaking to the Lord later – was thinking and imagining that he was the only one who was still worshipping the Lord and living for Him. He said to the Lord, “.. the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left..” (1Ki19:14).
What darkness! How on earth that the people of God who had experienced the mighty God throughout all the ages, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the grandsons of Moses, Joshua and David who were men of faith, could forsake the Lord and worship Baal? How could they dare to worship the calves that were symbols of sexual desires and fertility, after worshipping Jehovah, the Mighty and Holy God of Israel? Were they deceived to the extent that they worshiped Baal?! Did they forget the memories of the heavenly glory among them?! Did they forget how they were got miraculously out of the land of Egypt by the ten plaques?! Did they forget the Lord who divided the Red Sea for their sake and walked in the midst of them in a pillar of cloud and fire for their protection and guidance?! Did they deny the Lord who fed them daily with the Manna from heaven and got them water out of the rock?!
My friend, allow me to ask you some questions: How do you live in the midst of darkness of this world? What do you do when you find all people around you, are deteriorating into the life of sin? What is your reaction when you find your friends and lovers who were once going to the church, had renounced their old principles to attempt money, passion, sex and lust? What do you do before immoralities and the moral compromising? Do you slip after them? Do you corrupt yourself with the pollution and the attraction of sin?
What an intensive darkness covering the whole earth at that time! What a situation that grieved the heart of the Heavenly Father? What did The Lord; the Creator, the Mighty One, the Father and the Redeemer do as a reaction to that sinful situation? Actually, he sent the Prophet Elijah to them. He sent him on fire and in the fervency of the Spirit in order to lead them into repentance. He sent him to restore the people back to God and reveal unto them who is the living and genuine God. He sent him to challenge the Baal that they worship, and to declare that Mighty Jehovah is the Only God who has all authority. He sent him to proclaim his refusal and punishment to the sin of his people. He sent him to declare that both rain and dew will be stopped in all the land of Israel until change would come.
The Lord wanted them to discover that Baal has no ability to give them rain, and that he is unable and powerless to change the decisions of the living and genuine God. It was God’s aim that His people would not find food. As a result to that, they would get hungry and go back to God, who is in His turn, would had mercy upon them, bless and feed them.
In spite of God’s great plan to His people, they remained stubborn and hardened their hearts. And although “..there was a sore famine in Samaria” (1ki 18: 12), Ahab’s heart was not moved to repent before the Lord. On the contrary, he allowed his wife to exceed in her hatred to God and His people and she started to kill the prophets who remained faithful to God.
Dear Friend, before going back to the story of Obadiah, I’d like to encourage all who are living in darkness and sin. Whether you are far from the Lord a long time ago or you are living with Him but you are overtaken in a fault, weakness, seduction of sin and world, I tell you fear not and do not despair. God still loves you.. You are not forsaken. Your turning back to God is not impossible for Him.. He is so close to you.. He wants to encourage you to be converted to Him. Accept His calling.. Hide yourself in His bosom, then surely all your sins will be blotted out, and the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
Now, after having a look at that thick darkness, let’s have a look at Obadiah, the shinning and bright star.
1- He Feared the LORD Greatly:
“Obadiah feared the LORD greatly” (1ki 18: 3). This was the testimony of The Holy Spirit in favor of Obadiah. In addition, when Obadiah spoke to Elijah, he told him “.. but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth” (1ki 18: 12).
In the Old Testament, the names had very important significances among the people of God as they were considered prophetic messages about the persons and the events taking place in their lives. The name of Obadiah means “Servant of God”. What a beautiful name that carries the sense of God’s calling and responsibility since childhood! Surely it was the will of God Almighty for Obadiah to worship and serve him all his days long. Actually this what happened exactly in Obadiah’s life, for he lived in the fear of the Lord. This means that he had accepted joyfully to carry the yoke of the Lord on his life. Certainly the fear of God was costly; it allowed him to face challenges. Perhaps sometimes people did not like him and preferred not to come close to him, may be he had to sacrifice and give up things he liked. But in spite of all that, He remained faithfully to his God. He remained in the fear of the Lord. He remained steadfast, not shaken while the months and years were passing away.
Although Obadiah was in a very great and distinguished position in the sight of King Ahab, but he never compromised or partook in the worship of Baal. Actually, in the midst of darkness, and while Jezebel was harshly killing those who were worshipping God, the testimony of the Scripture witnessed in the favor of Obadiah that he “feared the Lord greatly”.
It is a great privilege that this would be the witness of the Holy Spirit about your life as well. Perhaps you live among the waves of sin, but your heart can be separated and not corrupted. The Father could see your heart and life, and He would witness in favor of you saying, “He is mine.. He loves me.. He lives in my fear.. etc.”.
My friend, fear not, because there are great rewards in the fear of God. Surely, when you fear God, You’ll be blessed and you’ll live in God’s will. That’s why I invite you at the end of the year to start a new one in the fear o God. Come and declare your acceptance that you need to be washed away from any blemish or defect that came into your life because of your leniency or for any other reason.
2- A Great Position and Success:
The Bible mentioned about Obadiah that he was “.. the governor of his house..” (1ki 18: 3).This expression means that he was investing a vital position and a great responsibility in the household of Ahab; perhaps he was in a position of a prime-minister.
It is marvelous to find Ahab, Jezebel’s husband who was worshipping Baal, appointing such a man like Obadiah who was worshipping Jehovah and fearing God, and giving him a great position as a governor to his kingdom and house. It is obvious that Obadiah’s life in God’s fear was the key through which Ahab trusted in him and could not do without him. In fact, he depended on him in spite of the expected hatred.
My friend, do you believe that God is able to keep you successful in your practical life whatever the challenges that are set before you? Do you believe that you’ll succeed in spite of holding firmly to your God and the principles of His word? Will you succeed even when you refuse to compromise because of your submission to God and to His word as well?
I encourage you to believe that your successful future is in God’s control and not in men. Believe that if you live in God’s fear, you’ll find favor in His sight, and you’ll be blessed abundantly in your work and in your entire life. In addition, God will make even your enemies to be at peace with you.
Allow me to lay out this challenge before you; that this year would be a year of success much more than the previous years. Do believe in the Almighty God and that He would bless you successfully. Declare your faith that you’ll never give up your submission to God, and proclaim that you’ll never dispense your spiritual principles. Perhaps you do not know how all this will work, but believe that God would develop your character, your abilities and your gifts. Just trust in Him and give Him the responsibilities of your life. Accordingly, he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday (Ps 37: 6).
3- A Special Calling and a Heavenly Plan:
Obadiah was in a critical position and a dangerous situation as there was a sore famine in his land. But deep in his heart, he knew that he had a special calling from God and that he was appointed in that place for a special reason. He knew deep inside that God would use him in a way fitting the nature of his life and his abilities.
Although Obadiah had a higher opinion of Elijah, the man of God, and he admired him as a full-time prophet, yet he was in no need to be a copy of him .He realized that God would use him in a special role according to his situations. That’s why he was working honestly in his position, and surely he was asking the Lord every day “Lord, what do you want me to do today? How can I fulfill your will?”
Suddenly, on one day during the days of the famine, he found the chance to serve God in a mighty way. It was an odd way that even Elijah himself was never used by God through it. At that time he realized why God had permitted him to be in such a position. For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water (1ki 18: 4). This is actually what Obadiah had done and that’s why God had put him in such a place. His role was to rescue an hundred of God’s men in the times of famine, where they would find satisfaction and a support to all their needs.
My brother and sister, Have you ever fulfilled God’s will in the last year? Have you lived for the Lord throughout your practical life? Have you ever made the best use of the abilities and gifts that are given to you by God? Have you realized the role God wants you to accomplish?
My friend, I’d like to tell you that there are many unoccupied roles in the field of Christ? Do you know why?! Because those who are supposed to live for the Lord and fill that space, do not fulfill His purpose in their lives. Some people are busy with themselves more than with God, whereas others live in a conflict to achieve roles that are not related to their abilities; they just want to imitate others and to be a copy of them.
Would you pray with me in the beginning of that year and agree to submit yourself to the Lord and to be available to him in order to fulfill His plans through you? Come and commit your whole life to Him. Ask for His daily guidance for the details of your life in order to know what you should do in the midst of the crowed around you.
4- An Adventure of Faith and Unlimited Giving
Surely Obadiah lived a life of adventure. He adventured everything just to fulfill what God wanted him to do. He adventured his position, his prestige and his life as well. Most probably he thought what would happen if Jezebel and Ahab know that Obadiah, who had such an advantage in their house and kingdom, was the one who took an hundred prophets, and hid them and cared for their own food? What would they do with him? Would they kill him or be satisfied by dismissing him away? Actually it was quite an adventure.
More than that, as there was a sore famine in Samaria, “Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts” (1ki 18: 5). This shows that many people had no enough food to eat. But in the midst of that situation, Obadiah was preparing food for hundred persons every day! He didn’t ask when would rain stop? What would happen if food or money became in shortage? He was not afraid of his family because he trusted God. In fact, Obadiah adventured every thing: his money, his food, his wife and children, his position and even his own life. He did all this in order to fulfill God’s will and upon his life.
Dear brother, when you love the Lord with all your heart, the Holy Spirit will flow over you and will give you the power to do marvelous things for His sake. Your love will be on fire, and you’ll find a flow of emotions and faithfulness towards Him. Giving and sacrifice will pour out through you in a way that, neither you nor the people around you would have ever expected it before.
At The End:
My friend, as you are about to end a year and to start a new one, I invite you with all my heart to sit alone and honestly in the presence of the Lord. Allow the past year to pass by your eyes and ask yourself what you have carried out. Were you available to God to do His will through you? Look at your points of strength and failure. Rejoice with all what God had done in your life. Rejoice for every time the Lord had used you, but just try to have a look at the points of weaknesses and failure.
Perhaps you tell me that you are used to forget those things which are behind. Surely, I’ll not object to forget your sadness and I agree that you must not give any chance to the enemy to imprison you in your past experiences of failure. All what I want you to do is to learn from your past. It is worth to look at the past just to know where have we failed and why? Why were we deceived or hindered by the enemy?
Let’s go forward to the Lord and ask Him to work in you by the Holy Spirit. Repent and you’ll be forgiven. Offer Him your weaknesses and mistakes, and He’ll deal with them by His Spirit. Ask Him to support and help you so that you can reach forth and fulfill what you have in before. Believe that if you repent and ask for a real change, He is able to compensate all your past.
I do invite you to renew you love and fellowship with the Lord. Consecrate and devote your life to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to flow over you and fill your heart to start a new wonderful year with the Lord, a year that is full of adventures of faith, sacrifices and giving, a year where you live in God’s fear and do His will.
God bless you.