What are you fearing today? Where are you doubting God? How are your expectations forcing God into your little theology box? God is God, and he will not be confined to our expectations, so reject fear and follow faith—and remember, faith makes things possible, not easy! Get your eyes off of circumstances and back onto God! Consider that God may have some creative alternatives to accomplish his plan through you, but he will need to blow your God-box to smithereens to accomplish it. Let him!
Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 19:11-12
The Lord said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
Elijah was depressed—and who could blame him. He had just come off a spiritual high where fire had rained down from heaven and consumed Elijah’s sacrifice in his contest with the prophets of Baal. God had answered Elijah so dramatically that even wicked King Ahab was impressed, and it seemed, ready to repent and turn to God. All Israel was abuzz with the God of Elijah, and Elijah assumed that a spiritual awakening was about to sweep the wayward nation back to faith in Yahweh.
But Queen Jezebel put a damper on Elijah’s momentum. She threatened to kill him, and the guy who had just called down fire from heaven, who just executed 850 false prophets, who had single-handedly led the nation to the brink of revival, let one mean, nasty, notorious woman ruin his day. Word came to Elijah that the queen had ordered him killed, and now, the prophet’s faith gave way to fear.
Just a momentary sidebar here: Fear is the greatest enemy to your faith. You cannot be a fearful faithful person. The battle in your life will always boil down to fear and faith. Faith calls you to trust God for provision and protection; fear tempts you to look at your circumstances—which will always overwhelm you and call you to trust in your own ability to overcome them. Fear is one of Satan’s chief weapons to get your eyes off God and onto circumstances. That’s why the number one command in Scripture is to “fear not.” Someone has pointed out that there are 365 “Fear Not’s” in the Bible—one for every day of the year—and you will need each one to follow faith instead of fear!
Back to Elijah—this prophet of fire fled. He got depressed. He even contemplated ending his life—“I have had enough, Lord, take my life…” (1 Kings 19:4). His perspective was so messed up and he was so disappointed with God that he sunk to an all-time low. But as the story progresses in 1 Kings 19, God does several things for Elijah that will pull him out of the pit and put him back onto his prophetic path.
- God gave Elijah physical renewal. He allowed him to rest—“then he lay down and slept…” (1 Kings 19:5) Sometimes taking a nap is a very spiritual thing. You don’t always need revival, sometimes you simply need rest. And God allowed him to eat—”Get up and eat!” (1 Kings 19:6) There are times when faith is not the issue, it is food. Perhaps our emotional depletion could be the result of the improper care of our physical lives.
- God led Elijah to a quiet place where he allowed him to pour out his heart—“Elijah came to a cave…the Lord said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9-10) Now keep in mind, God knew why Elijah was there—so God is not in the dark as to why Elijah is physically standing there. Rather, what God is doing is giving Elijah the opportunity to get some things off his chest. This is God’s invitation for Elijah to pour out his heart. Likewise, we will find holy therapy whenever we pour our heart out to God openly and honestly.
- God focused Elijah back on the mission—“Go back…and anoint Hazael to be king of Aram…Jehu to be king of Israel…and Elisha to replace you as prophet…” (1 Kings 19:15-16). Rather than allowing him to stew in his juice, God gave Elijah a new assignment—a purpose that would energize him for the next phase of his ministry. God wants Elijah, and by extension, you and me, to be mission-driven rather than emotion-driven.
What is God doing in this story with Elijah? He is graciously showing this faithful prophet who had made the mistake of putting God in his little “prophet box” that he, the Sovereign Lord, is, has been, and always will be in control. He has a plan, and he is working it out, even if it isn’t according to Elijah’s expectations. He is the God who doesn’t answer by fire each time—as you would expect, and prefer. He doesn’t always make a grand entrance with an earthquake; the mountains don’t rattle and the wind doesn’t always rip the roof off when God acts—sometimes the Almighty answers in a gentle whisper.
God is God, and he will not be confined to our expectations. That’s the bottom line to this story. God has a plan, and he’s sticking to it. We don’t always know all the details of that plan, and we don’t need to. All we need is to trust and obey, and God will take care of the rest. So take the lid off your box!
What are you fearing today? Where are you doubting God? How are your expectations forcing God into your little box? Reject fear and follow faith—and remember, faith makes things possible, not easy! Get your eyes off of circumstances and back onto God! Consider that God may have some creative alternatives to accomplish his plan through you, so let him blow your little spiritual box to smithereens!
And don’t be surprised, God may call to you in a gentle whisper today!
Fear is faith in Satan;
Faith is fearing God.
Ever see it that way?
Does seem rather odd.
Fear says, “God may fail me!”
Faith knows He keeps His word.
Hitherto the Lord hath helped us;
Doubting now would be absurd.
He careth for the sparrows;
Are you not more than these?
Why are you then so fearful?
Stay longer on your knees.
Dismiss your doubts and feeling,
Stand still, and see it through.
The God who fed Elijah
Will do the same for you!