Why am I here?
Have you ever asked yourself that question? Many people experience moments in their lives when they glance around at where their life is at, the place where they live or the environment where they work and think, “Why has God lead me here of all places?” Obadiah is an example of such a story (1 Kings 18). Obadiah was a servant to King Ahab during a very difficult time in Israel. Ahab was a horrible King who was married to an evil woman. Together they managed to kill thousands of innocent people and lead most of the country away from God and into the worship of false gods and idols. Because of this the country suffered. There was a drought for three years. This occurred because the people had forgotten how much they needed God. They had forgotten how much power God had to help shape and change their lives. They also forgot how and why it was important to worship God and God alone. Often God will go to extremes to try and convince us how much we really need God. It might seem inconvenient, horrible, unjust, or uncaring. But it isn’t. God simply knows that turning our hearts toward God is more important for us than any other freedoms or creature comforts that we might lose in the process.
Obadiah finds himself in a difficult situation. God’s people are suffering. He is forced to serve an evil king in a government that dishonors God. What did he do? Instead of concentrating on his own safety (or that of his family) or looking to advance his career, he decided to try and do something to help protect the innocent and the helpless. While the queen was busy killing off all of God’s prophets, priests, and servants, Obadiah decided to hide and shelter some of them in a couple of caves. He took on the responsibility of caring for, protecting, and feeding 100 innocent prophets (many of whom he probably did not know personally). He risked his own safety and career because he could not just sit there and do nothing. There are many ways Obadiah could have responded to his situation. He could have denounced the king and his evil government and ran away, having nothing to do with them. He could have joined a group of zealots who desired to overthrow the government. He could have carried out his duties quietly, hoping not to get noticed. Instead, he realized that maybe, just maybe, God had led him to this position/station in life for such a time as this. To provided leadership and direction during this horrible time. To do the right thing and to care for those who were victims. To use his position for the benefit of others, not for himself.
Many people feel that we live in very dark times today. They look at the financial crisis, wars, injustice, poverty, and our government and think “there is little hope for America.” Although the circumstances are different, the world we live in today is not that different from Obadiah’s world. There are still evil leaders in this world. The innocent still suffer. Many people live without a sense of any kind of hope for the future. But God is still alive and very active. God still longs for us to know God. God still uses God’s servants to be instruments of love, compassion and safety. God calls us to be like Obadiah. To take part in what God is doing and be involved in what God is concerned about. To examine our lives and say I am here (wherever that may be) because God desires to use me. To look around to the people whom God has brought into our lives and realize these are people that need to be cared for, that need to experience some of the love and peace that God has given me. You might not know how exactly you can do this. That’s ok. The first step is simply to take your eyes off yourself and your own problems and ask, “God please teach me?” “Teach me to be like Obadiah.” “To care for the things you care for.” “To learn to love others as you have loved me.” Amen!