It has been a while since I have posted anything, but my wife posted the following to my Facebook and it made me realize that lately I have not been paying attention to God’s presence in my life.
It made me think of Elijah in the Old Testament and the despair that came upon him.
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for 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 he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he 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.
So here’s Elijah, exhausted, hungry, pursued by his enemies, thinking his life is now worthless, and asking to die. But God has other ideas. He feeds his prophet miraculously for forty days and nights, so Elijah can gain his strength for the tasks that God has waiting for him.
But even then Elijah sounds a bit petulant. When God asks what he’s doing there, Elijah gives a list of his grievances, as if he had rehearsed them in his mind over and over. It is almost an accusation against God for the situation he finds himself in, as if God owes him an explanation, and not acknowledging in any way the recent care he has received without any of his own effort. So God gets his attention, not with a tornado, not with an earthquake, not with a fire, but (as the Hebrew poet said) with a “whisper in the breeze.”
Elijah’s words are the same, but his demeanor is very different. Now he is a supplicant, telling his God of his troubles, but now seemingly in anticipation of instructions. God gives him those instructions, showing him that his life is not over, that he has great plans for Elijah. And not only that, but Elijah is also not alone. There’s not just a handful of men ready to serve God like in the days of Gideon, but seven thousand men!
It is easy to let the circumstances of life become the focus of our energy. Like Elijah, we look at what led us to where we are and what we think is going to happen next, and figure that there’s no use, that whatever we might do will not make any difference and we want to just give up. But God is always right here, keeping track of everything. Sometimes “the journey is too great for thee,” and you have to slow down and replenish, and maybe not much happens in your life that seems of any value. But listen for the whisper in the breeze. Listen for the plans that God has for you, and know that there are others around you who are waiting for the same whispering words.
[1Co 2:9 KJV] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.