Monday, January 30, 2017

You Are Never Alone

"And he [Elijah] said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away

And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." I Kings 19:14-18

Elijah had a complaint towards God.  He had stood for God in the face of great opposition.  Now he was the only one left and the people desired to take his life as well.  His unsaid accusation against God was, "Where are you God? Don't you see what is happening? Why are you letting this happen to me, especially when I have stood for you?  Don't you care?  Why have you forsaken me?"

Sometimes you go through situations in life when you feel as if you are all alone.  It seems there is no one there to help and no one who sees or cares about your distress.  But God sees.  Not only does He see, but He cares and has already provided the answer.  The key is to not lose faith in Him during these times.

Elijah was mistaken.  Although he could not see them, God had 7,000 people who had not turned from Him in serving Baal. Now here is the thing.  It is not like there was Elijah on one hand and then 7,000 on the other. For all we know, those 7,000 could also have individually felt like they were alone.  Scripture does not say that there was fellowship amongst them or that they even knew of each other.

What Elijah also didn't realize is that, although he couldn't see the 7,000, they were probably praying for him.  People he did not know and had no idea existed were likely petitioning the Lord for his strength simply because the Holy Spirit led them to.  Even today, the Lord will put it upon your heart to pray for others whom you may never know or meet, but your intercession is enough to corral spiritual forces to come to their aid (I Samuel 12:23; James 5:16; I Timothy 2:1; Ephesians 6:18). Sometimes we think our own strength has gotten us this far, forgetting that the prayers of the saints of God also undergird us.

God will let us go through times of solitude in a trial where we feel like there is no help.  He may use it to grow us up.  He may use it to increase our faith as we watch Him work on our behalf.  It might be an opportunity for Him to teach us to keep our eyes focused on Him and not get distracted by - or put faith in - what we see.  It teaches us not to depend on the arm of flesh.  How are we to know that He is a mighty Deliverer if we never personally experience His deliverance in our lives?

Don't let a root of bitterness spring up in your heart during such times. You are only delaying, or God forbid negating, your deliverance.  Don't get bitter about others who you think should be doing something to help you.  Don't get bitter against God Himself and feel that He has turned His back on you.  Turn your face to God, get in your quiet/secret place, and seek Him in the matter.  It is now more than ever that you need to hear His still, small voice.

While Satan tries to get you to believe that God has left and forsaken you, we know that such is a lie. In the midst of Job's sorrow, Satan spoke through his wife and told him to curse God and die (Job 2:9-10). Yet, Job recognized his wife's advise as foolishness. Such are not times to pull away from God, but to press in all the more to the One who is able to uphold you and see you through.  Satan uses such times to discourage you, but God allows such times to purge you, to strengthen you, and to draw you closer to Himself.

I also love how God responds to Elijah. Yes, we all may have times where we are frustrated with things in our lives, but God doesn't get caught up in our tantrums.  In spite of all Elijah said, God's first word in response is, "Go."  He doesn't immediately address Elijah's complaint, but reminds him of what He has called Elijah to do. These are light and momentary afflications (II Corinthians 4:17). I am not being flippant about your own personal trial, I have them too.  I am saying that it is temporal; it will end some day, one way or another, because your life down here will likewise end. Our deliverance is found as we keep our eyes on God's mission and continue His work.

While not side-tracked by Elijah's comments, God does not ignore them.  He not only tells Elijah about the 7,000, but allows Elijah to join with Elisha for companionship.  He also let's Elijah know that Elisha will be his replacement, calling Elisha to be a prophet in Elijah's place (room).  Had this always been God's plan or was this action also a result of Elijah's complaining?  Scripture doesn't say. What we do know is that God's objective for Israel, even in His judgment of them, was providing for their ultimate redemption.  Yet in his frustration, all Elijah could see was vengeance.  We cannot fulfill God's commands by pursuing our own agenda or trying to get a payback from those who we believe have hurt us.  Focusing on ourselves and our situations will defile us and makes us unfit for God's purposes.  He will pass our mantel on to another in such cases.

Here is the big mystery: even in our trials, it is not about us.  God is working all things out for our good, but also according to His plans and purposes.  Don't let the trial derail you, but let God bring you through it changed and stronger than ever before.  Trust in God no matter what as His grace is sufficient for us.  It is by God's grace that we are not consummed.  God always has a remnant and our hearts desire should be to be a part of that.

"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." Romans 11:1-5

1 comment:

  1. This one slams home what I've been dealing with & what I desperately needed to hear.....I'm ashamed of the way I've acted towards God lately with my pride, tantrums and such. Thank you sister! Love ya!


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