We talked about Elijah tonight at Kairos Roots. Here is a man who was just like any of us. He prayed and it did not rain for 3 1/2 years. He prayed again and it rained. He went up against all the prophets of Baal and prayed down the fire of God not only on his sacrifice, but theirs as well. Yet when a woman named Jezebel threatened him, he ran for his life.
“Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:3-4).
It’s funny what will make us afraid. Even after an awesome spiritual conquest like Elijah experienced over the prophets of Baal, he let one person rule his life with fear. When I have seen God show up and move mightily, why is it that I am so very prone to fear a day or two later? Why am I so forgetful of all He’s done when a little thing comes up that I don’t think He can handle?
God asks a very important question to Elijah, “What are you doing here?” The question is not for God to gain information, but for Elijah to admit to God what God already knows. Elijah never directly answers the question. He says to the effect, “I am the only one left. There is no one on my side, no one who understands.” That is one of the great lies, that we are alone in what we face and that no one else will understand. God always has a remnant He has kept for Himself.
God provides Elijah three things: 1) something to eat, 2) something to drink, and 3) a friend. He sent someone who could speak into Elijah’s fear with understanding and compassion. When we are facing our fears, God will always send friends to walk with us through our trial.
Then Elijah waits in the cave for God to speak. God speaks not in the great strong wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire, but in the sound of a low whisper, or “The Sound of Silence”, to borrow an old Simon and Garfunkel song title. It reminds me of when Tracy Chapman sang, “Don’t you know talkin’ bout a revolution sounds like a whisper?” We should not expect God to speak to us like He has in the past, because God almost never speaks to a person the same way twice. In a culture that prizes noise and speed, we have to be silent and still. Where the motto of the majority is to “live loud and live fast”, we have to slow down, to stop even, and to be quiet and listen.
In the Old Testament, God often reminded His people of their slavery in Egypt. Not to shame them, but to remind them of this. In the midst of your bondage, God showed up and instead of miraculously delivering you instantly from it, walked with You through it so you would never have to fear it again. God gives us the ability to endure in tough times, which leads us to character growth, which leads to hope. And hope does not disappoint.
I have two questions from God for you. The first is, “If I has been faithful to you and blessed you all these years, what makes you think I will stop now?” That leads to the second question from God: “Will you trust Me for the next 24 hours?” Not a year or a month or even a week. 24 hours. God will not fail to keep His promises toward you. And remember, the purpose of everything that happens to you is to conform you into the image of Christ. Not your happiness or contentment, but joy and holiness.
As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.