Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Elijah


Elijah is a pretty interesting person, at least in terms of his life story. Due to the reading i did this summer and the circumstances of my own life he became a personal interest story for me.
The one question that first came to mind was When was Elijah closest to God?
Now you have to recount some of Elijah's history to come to any conclusions, at least the ones I came to.
Here we find Elijah on this mountain-top, (a Mountaintop experience) where he is doing this marvelous and miraculous work for God.
This isn't to discount what had already been done by him, he had prophesized the 3 1/2 year drought, had raised the son of the widow from the dead, had prayed and received confirmation that the food would not run out during his stay at the widow's house.
I start my narrative on the mountain-top, challenging the prophets of Baal to a contest. I see here a man devoted to God and obviously taking instructions from Him, however I would hazard to say that in some ways Elijah is just going through the mechanics of his job without the heartfelt knowledge for the work he was doing. It is duly noted that what happened here was of no small consequence to the people of Israel or the promotion and glorification of God as God.
I like to look at this from a little different perspective. his prayer to bring down fire from heaven was very nice, I relate it to many prayers I have said myself, where you really feel you have been at the Throne of Grace and have really touched the heart of God. Those are the special prayers you remember for years after.
But back to elijah, i'm the type of person who is strong on visualization when it comes to reading narratives , and I can picture the clear blue sky and the people gathered around,especially those false prophets, and from out of this sky a column of fire, the sound must have been a phenomenal roar and then the cessation (maybe the snap like when an acetalene torch is turned off, just for effect) and then dead silence. Those who were gathered there to see this event with anticipation and exopectation would have been astounded by the actual event. But what of those false prophets. Can you envision them? The blood having drained from their faces I'm not sure what the slang of the times would have been but insert a deletive expletive at this point. Then there would be the physical maladies, that feeling like you want to have a bowel movement but really you should be running. In a moment after that Elijah calls the people out of their shock to grab the false prophets and they cart them off. Now Elijah spends the rest of the day hewing the heads off of 400 prophets of Baal.
What a day for a prophet of God, but is he at the closest point in his relationship with God?
I'll move ahead to the race to Jerusalem, Elijah outrunning the chariot of Ahab and arriving in Jerusalem first.
The next event is perplexing, we see Elijah after the tremendous show of God's power working through him, he now turns tail at the threat from Jezebel that she will kill him. There was no need, God had proven Himself as a Protector and Provider. A little bit of Elijah dies.
He runs....and runs....and runs. He runs to the point of utter and absolute exhaustion. So exhausted so wishing to die that he attempts to kill himself in flight. Elijah dies just a little more.
Now arrives the mercy of our God, who understanding that man is flesh sends an angel to care for His beloved servant. I have always pictured this happening at the side of a road, the angel awakening Elijah out of his stupior to give him food. Alot like being in a fever and being awakened by your mother to have some soup and then rolling over and going back to sleep. Time and again the angel awakens Elijah and health is restored. Strength is given through nourishment of a type that is able to sustain long beyond that of ordinary food.
Elijah now begins his journey to mount Horeb to meet with God. A real accountability session.
What must have been the thoughts that went through his mind over those forty days and nights.
My thoughts return to an evening when walking home I came around the corner and looked up the street towards my house to see a Policecar parked in front. No doubt it was the same two officers who had been talking with me earlier in the evening, I was in trouble!!! It just felt like the bottom dropped out of my gut, and it seemed that I just couldn't walk slow enough, but even still it was in no time at all that I was stepping up to the door and in a dreamlike animated state I was opening the door and entering my house.
Forty days is a long time to think of what you are going to say to God when you get there. I wonder if it seemed that long to Elijah. And still more of Elijah dies in the journey.
It seems that there is more of Elijah yet to die. God talks to him and tells him to stand outside the cave. Now the display begins, all theatrics aside I would entertain the notion that in the hurricane and the earthquake and the fire there was nothing left on the table by God. I am sure that it was probably the most terrifying thing that Elijah had ever witnessed and I am sure also that Elijah stood on the edge of that cave knowing in no uncertain terms how fragile was his existence. Words cannot express the terror of falling into the hands of the Living God and coming out alive and yet here was Elijah surviving that very event. And a little bit more of Elijah died. Is he now as close to God as he can be? How does this compare to the mountain-top experience with all its hype and theatrics?
And now after all this the still small voice, and Elijah's heart is now completely yielded and submissive to God.
This may not be exegetically correct but I relate the story this way to draw parallels to my own life and the realization that I must die to self and be fully yielded and submitted to God. I am on a journey, God is moving me from not neccessarily a mountain-top, but positionally from a point of origin to a final destination which must have as it's final goal the death of self. I really think Elijah never came to terms with God until he heard the still small voice. I realize that there must be a cross which God will bring into my life by which I then will have the opportunity to understand the still small voice, and yield to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

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