Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Golden Opportunities and Copper Thinking

1 Kings 19:1–18 (NASB95)
1 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” 5 He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.” 6 Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 “It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. 18 “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Ahab recounts Mount Carmel to Jezebel

Jezebel sends a messenger to Elijah threatening him

Elijah becomes afraid and runs.  Leaves his servant at Beersheba.  In time of trouble and fear why leave your companion and head out into the wilderness alone?

Kill me now Lord.  Ever pray a rash prayer?  Aren't you glad God doesn't honor all of our prayers.  But rather God allowed him to rest.  And then sent an angel with what he needed.  Not once but twice.  This is a picture of God's provision.

I think the first visitation was to restore Elijah's body.  I think the second visitation was to prepare Elijah's body for the great journey.

It says that he went forward for 40 days and 40 nights in the strength of that food.  Definitely a better fare than he would receive at the hands of a Raven.

At Mount Horeb Elijah is ready to hear from God.  What happened in that 40 days?  Why didn't God speak at Beersheba?  Why didn't God speak after the meal?  Perhaps it's the journey that prepares us to hear from God.

God asking a question, isn't it funny.  God being omniscience could have told Elijah why he was there and what he was feeling.  But being relational God engages Elijah in conversation.  And Elijah seizes upon the opportunity and whines.  How often do we squander a golden opportunity with copper questions?

God doesn't answer but sends Elijah out because the Lord is passing by.  Leave your complaints in the cave and who let the Lord pass by you.  God is not found in the whirlwind perhaps this was made because His presence pass by.  Then the earth shook and  God is not in that, perhaps this was His foot fall on Mount Horeb.  And then a fire, perhaps this was what is unclean being burned by His presence.  But all these are only the reactions to God's presence.

God came in a still small voice.  And he asked the same question, "What are you doing here Elijah?"

Elijah blows it again by whining about his perceptions.  God doesn't immediately answer the question but rather gives direction.  And when he does give direction Elijah follows.

God does react and answer the Elijah's question or complaint with the facts.  7000 have not bowed to a knee.  Sometimes being in the middle of the problem blocks us from seeing what the reality of the situation is.

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