The Risk of Righteousness

Often, perhaps usually, there is a risk in doing right. If you don’t believe me ask Esther who risked her life to save her people. Or Obadiah, the chamberlain in Ahab’s and Jezebel’s household. Since Esther receives much of our attention and Obadiah very little, let’s talk about Obadiah.

Since there are several Obadiah’s in the Bible, including the minor prophet, we should be more precise. The Obadiah we’re talking about was over the household of the notoriously evil Ahab and his equally notoriously evil wife, Jezebel. Obadiah was given many tasks that had very little to do with running the household – like seeking God’s prophets throughout the land of Israel to slay them. Having an evil boss places one in a difficult position, as many of my readers may know. There are decisions to be made from time to time that test whether our allegiance is with God or the boss. And in Obadiah’s day, as well as ours, the priority must be to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)

The Holy Spirit said of Obadiah, “Now Obadiah feared Jehovah greatly.”(I Kings 18:3a)  Obadiah said of himself, “I thy servant fear Jehovah from my youth.” (I Kings 18:12)

The errand that proved the point was the one mentioned above: he was instructed to go through the land of Israel, find the prophets of Jehovah, and kill them. Had he done so he would have received the approval of Ahab and Jezebel. Maybe even a promotion! To disobey risked not only his high position, but also his very life. Jezebel did not hesitate to lop heads! What did he do in such a difficult dilemma? He risked doing right. Like Esther he must have thought, “If I perish, I perish.” Like Moses, he chose rather to do God’s will than to accept the benefits of doing otherwise. Like Joseph and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and Daniel, Obadiah took a risk!

He found the prophets of Jehovah – there were a hundred of them – he hid them in caves, fifty in each cave, and he provided food and water for them so they could escape the wrath of Ahab and Jezebel.

The New Testament abounds with Christians who made the decision to do right even at great risk. Best known of them would have to be Paul. Priscilla and Aquila “laid down their necks for me” Paul said in Romans 16:3.

Andronicus and Junius, kinsmen of Paul, were placed in jail. All of the Apostles risked their lives by preaching Christ after being told not to in the days of the early church.

Why should people take such risks? The motive attributed to Moses permeated them all. It is said, “He counted the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked for the recompense of reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)

The horns of the dilemma? Which door – the tiger or the maid? Literature abounds with the theme that life is choices. Being a Christian is choices. Watch for the choices you have to make – even today.

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