Thrill of Victory
Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, has always held a soft spot in my heart. He always struck me as so down to earth. He had common sense. He didn’t offer much mercy to fools.
On Mount Carmel, he entered into a contest with the foolish false prophets of Queen Jezebel. God ignored the false guys’ dancing, singing and finally panic. Elijah had a fine time mocking their failure. I won’t repeat it here. When Elijah prepared his sacrifice, he made sure that only God could make it happen. And God did – a firestorm dropped from heaven and wiped out the entire sacrifice and everything around it. Then Elijah executed the false prophets.
Agony of Defeat
That was the mountain top. We all want to live there. But, alas, the valley comes. Queen Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life and he ran away in fear to hide.
Yes, that’s right. Elijah was a great prophet, but he was a man, too, and subject to the ups and downs of moods and emotions—just like the rest of us. Elijah hid in the wilderness and moaned that he was no better than his forebears. God let him rest, then fed him, and Elijah regained his strength.
Not Fury; But Stillness
From the wilderness, Elijah ran to Mt. Horeb and hid in a cave.
“Elijah, what are you doing here?” Asked God.
Elijah answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (1 Kings 19:10 NKJV).
Storms shrieked around the mountain caves that night. There are songs about God NOT being in the strong wind that broke rocks to pieces; or in the earthquake that probably shook Elijah’s soul along with the ground; or in the fire that may have heated the cave unrelentingly.
Yet, Elijah was not harmed.
Then came the still, small voice of God again, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (1 Kings 19:10 NKJV).
Can you hear the plaintive words? A second time?
It occurred to me that Elijah had nursed his grievances while the storms pressed in from outside. He complains, with the same words, in two different occasions to God. How many times did he grumble in his thoughts in those days?
So just like me.
How many times have I repeated perceived injustices through my mind before there is ever any repentance or resolution?
Yet, God is gracious. He told Elijah that he was not alone, God still had seven thousand people who had not bent the knee to Baal. He also returned dignity to Elijah, gave him a job to do, and a companion to prepare to carry on the work of prophet after Elijah.
Things are not what they seem. God is always at work in our lives.
I think, that instead of running gripes around in our heads, we might seek God’s truth in our lives. He has much more planned for us than wallowing in a pool of pity.
“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 18:18 NKJV).