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|Distress After Great Spiritual Exploits (Pt. 2)|
|Sunday, 29 April 2012 15:02|
[Read 1 Kings 18:19-19:18]
There were a few things that Elijah had to learn after his triumph over the Prophets of Baal and Asherah. So God led him to Mount Horeb for that purpose. Reaching Horeb, he found a cave and lodge there. There the voice of the Lord came to him, “What are you doing here Elijah? This question called for reflection, which would bring light of self-condemnation and self-instruction to Elijah. Elijah answered, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away” (19:10).
God was gracious, and there was no reproof, but He commanded Elijah to go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. There the Lord passed by; first as a great and strong wind that tore the mountains and broke pieces of rocks before the Lord, but He was not in the wind. “After the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper” (19:11-12). Elijah did not need to be told where the Lord was. For when he heard the low whisper, he wrapped himself and went out and stood at the entrancing of the cave (!9:13).
Elijah realized, then, that he had misunderstood the ways of Lord: that the storm and the fire that go before God is not God himself. But this knowledge needed supplementation with direct instruction from the Lord. And so the Lord asked a second time, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And he answered as before. The Lord then told him that He still has work for him to do and that he, Elijah, was not alone: that He "will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him" (19:15-18).
Not only did Elijah misunderstand the ways of God, he also thought that God’s cause would fail without him, and that God depended upon him. We, too, have a tendency to forget that God’s ways are not our ways, that our end in view is not necessarily His end in view, that God does not depend upon us: our prowess and ingenuity, but that we depend upon God, and that the cause of God will triumph without us.
Because we are so prone to forget these things, the Lord puts us in distress to instruct us and refresh our knowledge of Him. Do not despise the instruction of the Lord. The Lord corrects and instructs the one he loves.