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Seeing beyond circumstances

Just reading the Bible in 1 Kings from chapter 17 you find that the dominant figure becomes Elijah and you can see how God worked closely with him and yet in more demanding situations Elijah could feel like he was all on his own.

“What are you doing here, Elijah?” God asked the prophet in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:13). Elijah had just experienced his greatest triumph. On Mount Carmel, he had challenged the forces of evil before the whole nation and had seen the fire of God come from heaven to consume the sacrifice he had prepared. Seeing this, the people had turned back to God and had slaughtered the priests of Baal.

Immediately, God had opened the skies and had sent rain on the parched land of Israel. However, one threat from Queen Jezebel had caused him to flee into the desert and to Mount Horeb, where he now sat, wishing to die.

After we have experienced God’s power in a special way the enemy will seek to intimidate us and to rob us of the blessings we have just received. It is then easy to lose sight of God’s greatness and His calling for our lives, and to shift our focus onto the issues that suddenly confront us. In these situations, we need to find a place where we can once again hear the gentle whisper of God, reminding us that He is always in control.

Elijah’s response to God reveals how much he had lost the plot. I think all he could see was himself and his situation. He told God how he alone had been zealous for Him, and how everybody else was serving Baal and was therefore out to kill him. With his eyes on himself and his circumstances, he apparently forgot that God had demonstrated His sovereign power at Mount Carmel and that, as a result, thousands had turned back to Him.

I think it is easy for us too to lose sight of God’s purpose, to think like Elijah that we are the only ones left serving Him. Like Elijah, we may be looking for some comforting words, a pat on the shoulder and a “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

God’s reply to Elijah is not quite what the prophet would have expected: He tells Elijah that there are seven thousand others. Those seven thousand may not have stood in the limelight of mount Carmel (yet), but they loved God and refused to bow to Baal or to be intimidated by his followers. And one of these people was Elisha son of Shaphat. I will pick from there in another post when I have read 2 Kings.

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