Tuesday, March 3, 2009
1 Kings 19
Talking to a friend yesterday made me ponder where God has me. I have watched the work God has been doing in this man's life, and continue to rejoice in the victories and faithfulness that is portrayed through it. His journey is coming full circle from being an alcoholic, to jail time, to recovery and salvation, and now back to jail again, but this time in ministry for his savior. God has laid upon him the passion to start a half-way house in his community where more people can hear of the gospel as they are on the road to recovery. I love when God moves, and His people are faithful to step out. The joy is contagious!
Then, I see where I am. Struggling again for that joy and that calling and that mission from God. See, I am normally not one to sit still. Always doing something else for the ministry. As He is sovereign, God does have me exactly where He wants me, but how long does this go on? At what point do I step out and start something, and how long do I justify that God doesn't want me "out there". I have a full time ministry right here at home, don't I???
Reading my Bible this morning in 2nd Timothy, God kept calling me to Elijah's story. At the height of his ministry, and experience of years of God's provision, and first hand seeing Him move, he is on top of Mount Carmel and calls on God to bring down fire from heaven. Right after this, he hears that Jezebel wants to kill him, so he runs for his life. He tells God "I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."
Do you know what God did? He sent an angel to minister to Elijah, and gave him rest and food. After he was strengthened, God sent him out on a journey for forty days and forty nights. After he came to a cave at Horeb, the mountain of God, God asked him "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
I feel like I am somewhere on that journey. Coming down from a mountain top experience in ministry a couple of years ago, to "running for my life" the past year, and now waiting for the voice of God. Or maybe I am still at that resting spot, letting God heal and renew me. It is hard to be in the valley, seeing that enormous mountain ahead. Seeing the one's on top, calling down encouragement.
Elijah's reply, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." God responded by telling him to prepare to stand in the presence of the Lord. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. And God asked him again "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Maybe that was part of the purpose of the journey. To give Elijah time to ponder "what am I doing here?" Maybe that's part of our journey, too. To prepare to stand before the Lord to answer that question, before we go on to what He has prepared in advance for us. After lamenting to God, again, about what the Israelites had done God gave him very clear directions about what he was to do. He encouraged him by telling him he wasn't alone, God had set aside seven thousand in Israel who's knees had not bowed down before Baal. Elijah proceeded down the mountain, refreshed and renewed, to go out and serve the Lord again.
As I was looking for the account of Elijah, I came across our favorite 2 Kings passage. I call it "Cole's story", because when he was little he always asked me to read it to him. 2 Kings 2:23-25From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.Just another day of ministry for Elisha I guess??!! Cole has never teased anyone about being bald, anyway!