Friday, November 16, 2007

He meets us in our need

Tonight I am tired...and greatly encouraged by a story found in I Kings 18-19. For those of you who grew up in the church, the first part of the story will be familiar. We find Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal and gaining an amazing victory for God. If you're not familiar with the story, you can read it here. I want to focus on what happens next, but to do that we need a little context...

Elijah has just won an amazing victory. He has, with God's help, defeated and killed the prophet of Baal with a miracle - God reigns fire down from heaven, consuming an altar that had been soaked with water. It's an amazing story, filled with Elijah "talking trash," so filled with faith was he. But as we keep reading you may be startled by what happens next;

Elijah, after hearing a threat from Jezebel, flees in fear. In chapter 19:4, he even says "I have had enough, Lord...Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." What happens next? "All at once an angel touched him and said, 'Get up and eat.' He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again." This happened second time as well - the food and water strengthening him and rejuvenating him.

What stopped me was this - Elijah had just been used in an amazing way by God, and he was tired. What did God do? He met Elijah's physical needs - sleep, food and water. There was no condemnation, no "how can you give up and die after what I just did?" If I were God I probably would have been tempted to blast Elijah for so quickly losing heart, losing faith, and forgetting the miracles that had just been done. Instead, we read none of that - God, through His great mercy, met Elijah in his place of need. He sends an angel who brings food and water, and Elijah sleeps.

Sometimes, in our need to try and be the perfect Christian, what we need to do most is rest; sleep, eat, drink, listen, and allow God to pour Himself into you to prepare you for what comes next. When you're in that place, the best thing to do is just what He asked you to do...rest.

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