people in thoughtful conversation

Reflecting on 1 Kings 18 5-18

We are studying 1 Kings 18:5-18 for Sunday, March 28. This is the story of Elijah’s conversation with Obadiah, a prelude to the prophet Elijah’s face-off with the prophets of Baal at the end of an epic drought. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to consider or discuss as we think about this text:
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How would we compare and contrast the prophet Elijah and Obadiah? That is, in what ways are they similar – as far as we can tell from the text? In what ways are they different? How do we know this from the text? [It might help us to make a list or table of their similarities and differences.]

What do we notice about the pattern of similarities and differences? Can we learn anything from this pattern, do we think? What?

Are either, or both, of these figures models for us in any way? What way, or ways? Why?

Is one of the men more of a model than the other, would we say, or does it “depend”? What does it depend on?
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What, according to Obadiah, are his concerns? Do those concerns seem “reasonable” to us? Or, unreasonable? Why?

Does Obadiah’s speech tell us anything else about how Obadiah sees things (e.g., the world, Elijah, God)? What does it tell us?

[More personal] In what ways do we share Obadiah’s view of things, do we think? How do we feel about that? Why?
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How does Elijah’s declaration in verse 15 respond to Obadiah’s concerns?

Would we describe this as a courageous declaration? Why, or why not?

[More theoretical, maybe] How are courage and faith related, do we think? How do they seem to be related in this story?

[More personal] Do we think of ourselves as courageous? As having faith? How do those qualities seem to be related in our own lives? How do we feel about that? Why?
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When Elijah meets Ahab, the two men accuse one another of being “the bringer-of-destruction” on Israel. Why?

[More theoretical, and also more personal] We are probably meant to agree with the text, and Elijah, that Ahab is the bringer-of-destruction on Israel. Do we? Why, or why not?

What difference do our answers here make for us? [That is, if we pay attention to how we think about this, do we notice any effects our thinking has on our practice?]
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Why is this story in the Bible, do we think?

What can we learn from this story, do we think? Why do we think that?
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Men in conversation

Image: “Conversation,” Arnold Lakhovsky, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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