After a long time, the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year: “Go and present yourself to Ahab. I will send rain on the surface of the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
The famine was severe in Samaria. Ahab called for Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. Obadiah was a man who greatly feared the Lord and took 100 prophets and hid them, 50 men to a cave, and provided them with food and water when Jezebel slaughtered the Lord’s prophets. Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go throughout the land to every spring of water and to every wadi. Perhaps we’ll find grass so we can keep the horses and mules alive and not have to destroy any cattle.” They divided the land between them in order to cover it. Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went the other way by himself.
While Obadiah was ⌊walking⌋ along the road, Elijah suddenly met him. When Obadiah recognized him, he fell with his face ⌊to the ground⌋ and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?”
“It is I,” he replied. “Go tell your lord, ‘Elijah is here!’ ” (1 Kings 18:1-8)
Elijah had been in hiding ever since he told Ahab it wasn’t going to rain any more unless he said otherwise. Ahab hated Elijah and wanted to kill him. So Elijah ran off and hid by a stream, where ravens fed him until the stream dried up. Then he stayed with a widow. But at long last it was time to face the king who wanted him dead.
Rather than going directly to Ahab, God had Elijah meet up with an old friend first. Obadiah, not to be confused with a prophet by the same name, had been put in charge of Ahab’s palace. Obadiah was shocked to find Elijah, and afraid to tell Ahab, but did so anyway.
Elijah’s faith was no greater than that of any other human being. He was, after all, merely human. But he had learned to do what God told him to do, and he had learned to believe what God said. Elijah’s first message to Ahab when he came out of hiding was that it was time for a contest to see who was the better God: Yahweh or Baal. Only after Yahweh won, would Elijah let Ahab know that the drought was ending.