Devotion: 1 Kings 18:3-6Common grace is the Reformed idea that while not everyone will turn to Jesus Christ in faith and be saved (what is known as "special" or "saving grace"), everyone still receives some favor from the Lord. God cares for all of creation through His providential sustaining of all that is, God restrains sin by the power of the sword given to the State and God leaves some semblance of morality in man's conscience. While humans are totally depraved, that is tainted in every part by sin, we are not utterly depraved, given over completely to evil, sin and destruction because of God's common grace. The common grace of God is expressed by Jesus in Matthew 5:45b, "For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
Common grace it what led Ahab to call upon Obadiah as the Lord was sending Elijah to Ahab to restore the rain after the long drought.
"And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.) And Ahab said to Obadiah, 'Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the valleys. Perhaps we may find grass and save 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." -1 Kings 18:3-6 ESVAhab is not at this time turning to the Lord in his distress for relief. Ahab is, without knowing it, relying upon the common grace of God as he and Obadiah split company to go seek out water for the animals. Ahab, in this way, takes seriously the Genesis mandate (see Genesis 1:28). Ahab is seeking to be a good steward of his animals and calls upon his chief steward, Obadiah, to assist him. To locate water would be a major help to the animals in this time of need.
It should be noted, however, that Ahab may be favoring his animals over human beings. This, of course, is pure wickedness, but common wickedness today. We are called to care for the animals we own, but far too many treat the animals in their own households better than fellow image-bearers of God. [Check out this cat massager! My cats may take my hand off if I attempted this on them!]
At any rate, the action will focus on Obadiah. We are told that as the prophets of the Lord were rounded up for slaughter by Jezebel, Obadiah used his position and authority to secret away some of these men from religious persecution and provided for their needs. In this way we can see that Obadiah was a man of God himself, fearing the Lord out his provision of saving grace. Obadiah took great personal risk to save the prophets of the Lord. He could have pointed Ahab to the water that those prophets were using to water his master's animals, but he keeps them hidden and their supply intact.
At the end of the paragraph Ahab and Obadiah part company to go in search of water. This is a reminder that those who partake merely of the common grace of God will inevitably part company with those who know His saving grace. Obadiah and Ahab will each go on their own search. It is the faithful Obadiah who will encounter the Prophet Elijah and thus begin the amazing process by which God ends the drought.
For us today, let us remember that common grace is a great benefit and blessing to all. How much more the saving grace of Jesus Christ that not only gives water for the day, but living water into eternal life.
The song is "Weaker Side" by Benjamin Torrens.
News for You:
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- Just a reminder that the Annual Meeting is coming up January 20 following worship. If you have a report, get in to the Church office as soon as you can.
- The Breakfast Potluck will take place following worship Sunday, January 13. Come and enjoy the food and fellowship.