Knock It Off The Pedestal
1 Kings 18 and Romans 14
1 Kings 18:1-4 presents an interesting contrast. Elijah was a prophet who was an outcast. He boomeranged, in the public eye, between being celebrated and being run out of town. It’s a risk for him to present himself to a king who hates him because of the things God told him to do and say. But then, there’s Obadiah who is, apparently, in charge of the ungodly king’s house, but clearly fears the Lord, so much so that he saves the lives of one hundred prophets by hiding them and feeding them.
One thing I have taken note of is the tendency for us to elevate one type of man over another. We might give more spiritual status to the one who is the outlier or has the title or “full time” ministry status – the one who gets attention for the most forceful public backlash for doing the right thing. Or maybe we see the guy who hides in plain sight working for an evil boss who saves lives serving the Lord, sort of incognito style, and we put his ministry on a pedestal. What happens then? Well, then if we favor the outspoken outlier, we start thinking that the guy who works for the king must still have his job because he hides his faith. So, we look down on him and designate him as a weaker person in our mind. Conversely, if you favor the faithful head housekeeper who hid the prophets, maybe you think the other guy is a nut job whose loud mouth is what threatened the lives of the prophets to begin with. I mean, more people would be accepting of God and nicer to God’s people if that dude’s personality wasn’t so offensive, right? Wrong.
God used them both and He does the same today. Romans 14:4 says, “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls….” Your first priority is your stance before God and that should also be your first priority for your brother – where he stands with God, not with you.
You can be confident in what God has shown you on how to walk with Him (Romans 14:22), but you don’t always need to talk someone else into thinking exactly the way you do (14:1-6). There are things that are always right and wrong, but there are many other things that God deals with on very individual levels. Make sure you are doing what God has for you but do not push individual convictions on others.
If you read on in 1 Kings 18, you’ll see that Obadiah and Elijah knew one another and knew the work of the Lord done by each other. At this point, their two very different ministries collided to bring about a meeting between the king and Elijah, resulting in a great confrontation between the God of Israel and the false gods worshipped by king Ahab.
We’ve all got different jobs to do and different ways of thinking. God designed us that way. It is truly amazing how we are all made in His image but are so unique. He made us with our own niche things to do and sometimes that separates us and we have a hard time not stepping on each other’s toes. But, ultimately, we are one body and He made us all to fit together, to unite in His power to accomplish the things that really matter. Different isn’t wrong, but Romans chapter 14 tells us that it’s not an excuse to be wrong in our attitudes toward one another. The same Spirit is in all of us and God does not contradict Himself. If we are all listening to His voice, there is no argument to be had.
Let those who are against God divide, not us.
Idols come crashing down when the people of God unite.