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1 Kings 18:1-19, Elijah’s Message to Ahab

Thursday, November 2

To Trust or Not to Trust

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Poor Obadiah! He had been faithful to God during the reign of the wicked Ahab, all while working for Ahab and keeping his allegiance to God a secret. Ahab had been looking for the prophet, Elijah, to kill him, but had been unable to find him. Now, Obadiah found Elijah and was faced with an impossible situation. Elijah told him to tell Ahab he'd found him. If Obadiah told Ahab where Elijah was and then Elijah was long gone, Ahab would kill him. If Obadiah didn't tell Ahab he'd found Elijah and was then asked to swear to it, Ahab would learn of his treachery and kill him. Either way, Obadiah ended up dead.

But there was a third option. He could trust that the man of God, Elijah, was telling the truth -- that he would be there when Ahab came to find him. How hard it must have been to trust, when your very life is on the line!

Trusting in other people is a tricky business. Everyone has had experiences of trusting, and then being let down. Some of us have been quite badly hurt by trusting too much. It makes us shut down and keep people out. The problem is, when we close ourselves off from other people in order to protect ourselves, we end up hurting ourselves more. We need other people. Especially, we need people we can trust who have come through for us more often than they have failed us. No one will come through 100% of the time -- not even us. But if we let our guard down and let people in, and when they are there for us when we need them, we are blessed with the gift of trust, intimacy, community, union, and many more wonderful gifts that only come to us when we take the risk of trusting. Who are you resisting trusting? Could you let your guard down just a little bit?

Narrative Lectionary Text: 1 Kings 18:1-19

After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year of the drought, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain on the earth.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria. Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Now Obadiah revered the Lord greatly; when Jezebel was killing off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water.) Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the wadis; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.” So they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself. As Obadiah was on the way, Elijah met him; Obadiah recognized him, fell on his face, and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.” And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would hand your servant over to Ahab, to kill me? As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom to which my lord has not sent to seek you; and when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would require an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. But now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.’ As soon as I have gone from you, the spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where; so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have revered the Lord from my youth. Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water? Yet now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here’; he will surely kill me.” 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.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father’s house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”