RHYTHM: Thanks for Nothing – 1 Kings 18

Proper 4 1 kings 18Saturday before Proper 4: 1 Kings 18:1-19

Reading: 1 Kings 18:1-19

Thanks for Nothing

I didn’t remember this story from 1 Kings 18, but I love it.

Elijah calls for a drought over the land, which pretty well puts him at odds with everybody. Ahab who is wicked on top of wicked and married to Mrs. Somehow More Wicked and wants Elijah dead. A lot.

So after 3 years of severe drought, God tells Elijah to go present himself to Ahab and let him know that the drought is coming to an end. Meantime, Ahab is trying to find a way to provide water and grass to save some of the horses and mules. Ahab conscripts Obadiah to help him, and they head off in opposite directions.

Obadiah runs into Ellijah; he’s a big fan, so he’s excited to see Elijah. Obadiah is actually faithful to God and has been hiding God’s remaining prophets “50 to a cave” (love that). Elijah says, “Great to see ya; go tell Ahab I’m around.”

“Yeah, no thanks,” says Obadiah.

What he actually says is why would you, “hand your servant over to Ahab to kill me?” The manhunt for Elijah has been intense. Any nation claiming to not be harboring him had to swear an oath to that effect, presumably with dire circumstances for defaulting on it.

Obadiah’s point is legitimate; Elijah did have a habit of being whisked from here to there at God’s whim. He was just as likely to be gone as present when Obadiah got back with Ahab.

For reflection:

What do you make of Elijah’s request of Obadiah? Why not just go see Ahab himself?

When have you been really uncomfortable in a ministry situation you felt you couldn’t avoid?


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