Posts Tagged ‘Old Testament prophets’

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People do the strangest things at the oddest times. Sometimes after a great victory in our lives we just do the weirdest thing, then can’t believe we’ve done it.

Today I was thinking about Elijah. If there was a hallway in heaven called, “The Great Prophets of God”, Elijah’s name would totally be there.

The funny thing about the gift of prophecy is that people seem to think it’s a really cool gift to have because they associate it with predicting the future and seeing what’s going to happen. And that is part of being a prophet, but basically it’s just about telling others what God’s telling you to tell them.  It could be for the future, but it could just as easily be for right now, to help you in your walk today.

It’s kind of like being a messenger. Scripture is very clear on the fact that being a prophet is not easy and many times people don’t want to hear what you have to say. I mean really, when you think about it, if they’re not going to listen to God Himself why would they listen to the person He sent to tell them His will?

But, in my eyes, Elijah did one of the coolest things of any of the Old Testament prophets. He called on God to burn up an offering in 1 Kings 18 in what could be called a ‘my God against yours’ match. The prophets of Baal went first. Now Elijah knew his God. He knew who God was. He knew what God could do. He had no doubt about the fact that his God was going to come down and dominate the competition. Elijah even went so far as to mock the prophets of Baal as they try to get their god to respond.

Of course their god didn’t show up. In fact my version of the events reads, among other not too kindly words for these prophets of Baal, “Then they did their lame dance around the alter they made.” 1 Kings 18:26

Yet, when Elijah called on God, He showed up in such a huge way that there was no doubt who was actually God. He not only consumed the offering Elijah had put out for Him, a water logged offering at that, but the fire He sent down obliterated everything, the offering, the 12 stones, the wood, the dust and all the water until there was nothing left. There was no doubt that not only was God God, but He was hugely powerful as well.

It was just a short time later that Elijah did the strangest thing. He ran away in fear, but not from God. He ran away in fear from a very powerful woman.

He seemed to have a moment of amnesia about who God was, and what He had just done, when Queen Jezebel put a death threat out on his head. And Elijah wasn’t just a little afraid, he was so afraid that he ran a huge distance in a short time to get away from the threat.

Then he left his servant behind, slept under a tree where an angel gave him food when he woke up, and walked for 40 days until he came to a cave in a mountain and spent the night there. That’s where God came to him.

And He asks Elijah a funny question. He says, “What are you doing here, Elijah?’ As if God didn’t already know what Elijah was doing there, as if He didn’t already know that Elijah was running for his life, that he was tired. He had seen God’s prophets killed and tried to give God’s message to an unresponsive people. Elijah was weary. He felt as if he were the only one left alive serving God, and he tells God all about it.

One question from God brought a floodgate of emotions from Elijah, and maybe, just maybe, at another time, in another place, he wouldn’t have been so honest with God about how he felt. How weary he was. How lonely and alone he felt serving this one true God.

God knew this and maybe that’s why He asked Elijah that most basic and banal of all questions. Because sometimes it only takes the slightest touch to open a wound.

We’re really not so different from Elijah, because when we’re in a spot like he was, feeling hurt, alone and weary, all it takes is a few words in a voice of caring to cause the floodgates of our hearts to open. Those few words take on another meaning entirely when we realize they are spoken by the God who is in love with and deeply cares for each one of us.

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

Psalm 145:8










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