In this article we will look at how different ministries can work together in the body of Christ for the benefit of all.
”And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: 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.)...And Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.” 1 Kings 18:3-4, 15-16
I am sure you know this famous story well. Ahab, stirred up by his wife Jezebel, became one of the wickedest kings of Israel. At the time of the above verses, Israel had been in a drought for 3 years because God had, through Elijah, pronounced judgment on Ahab and Israel.
There are two major things I would like to point out. First, sometimes, in this world, the righteous suffer because of the actions of the wicked. The 100 prophets, Elijah, and other righteous people suffered through the drought, too. They lived in a time of God’s judgment and on a physical level suffered along with the ungodly.
God works with different ministries and individuals, but He also works on a community or national level. We are part of the society in which we live - for better or worse. If the righteous reign and God’s blessing is abundant, then the ungodly reap the physical benefits of it. If the unrighteous reign and God’s judgments come, then the Godly suffer the physical affects of it. For example, if a “natural” disaster [famine, earthquake, etc.] strikes everyone in the region is impacted - the Godly and the ungodly.
This shows us that we cannot afford to be passive about the condition of our communities and our nations. Whether they, as a unit, are under God’s blessing or judgment will impact our lives as well. Now we know that God works all things out for good to those who love Him. Even if we are in a society under the judgment of God, we - as individuals - are not under God’s judgment, and can be a blessing and expand the Kingdom of God. But it is much nicer to be in a society under the blessing of God. [In rare cases, such as the judgment of the Flood and AD 66 - 70, God takes His people out before the judgment falls. This seems to be the exception rather than the rule.]
Second, God had different people for different ministries. Elijah, the fiery prophet of God, looked Ahab eyeball to eyeball and announced God’s judgment. He confronted evil and demanded repentance. It is necessary to draw the line and uncompromisingly require change. We cannot live in comfort with evil. Either we destroy evil, or it destroys us. There is no compromise. Elijah was God’s man of confrontation.
We are all called to live holy, righteous, lives of integrity, but we are not all called to the Elijah ministry. God has different ministries. Obadiah was a man of integrity who was also a man of influence in Ahab’s house. He worked within a corrupt system to bring about the righteousness of God. Many times his life was on the line - certainly when he went against Jezebel by hiding and feeding 100 prophets - because of his fear of God. He lived under pressure. He talked, perhaps daily, with Ahab and Jezebel where one wrong word could mean exposure and death not only for him but also for all those he was protecting.
God has a ministry for Elijah, He also has a ministry for Obadiah. Obadiah respected Elijah. Did Elijah respect Obediah? We don’t know. Many times those called to an “Elijah” ministry despise those in an “Obediah” ministry as being weak and compromising. But Obadiah was neither weak nor compromising. We need to respect those who are called to different ministries or administrations of the grace of God. God has a place for everyone.
Elijah could not have done what Obadiah did. He could not have saved those prophets. In fact, at a threat from Jezebel he ran for his life and fell into depression. He could declare the Word of God and then disappear. It was a necessary ministry. Evil had to be confronted, judgment had to be declared.
Obadiah could not have done what Elijah did either. He lived with Ahab and Jezebel. To confront them would mean death. He would have died an unknown martyr and many others would have died as well instead of being saved through a dangerous time.
We need to respect each other's different ministries as we work for the common goal of expanding the Kingdom of God on earth.