Continuing on from Parts 1 and 2…
I’ve been trying to explain why I feel that faith in our Lord Jesus is like ‘Being at the Knife Edge’ and relating that to Elijah. Here are a few thoughts:
1) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus is ‘living way beyond ourselves, it’s extreme living!’. The Spirit of God, if we listen intently and we obey completely, can have us saying and going and doing so much beyond our ‘natural man’. Faith stretches us!
2) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus is ‘choosing to give up control of our lives’. Our ‘natural’ response is we want to keep control of our lives but in John 3:8 Jesus says ‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
3) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus is ‘a daily challenge, a daily battle’. Faith runs contrary to our ‘natural man’. Faith isn’t just the occassional one off event, faith is a moment by moment choice to trust in our Heavenly Father. God desires and deserves our full attention, our complete faith and trust in him.
4) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus ‘finds out what we are made of’. It challenges the very core of our being. It seeks out the ‘cracks’ in our character and refines and conforms us to the image of Christ. ‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son – Rom 8:29’
5) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus ‘challenges and overcomes our fears’. Within each one of us there is always the choice of faith in our Lord Jesus or fear. ‘I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life – Deut 30:19‘. Who are we going to serve? Faith or fear? Like Elijah; we can be living at the ‘knife edge of faith’ and then God allows something to happen that pricks or stirs or challenges our ‘natural man’ and we can ‘slide off the edge of that knife’ and start serving our fear and despair.
Let’s continue with the story of Elijah and see what happens. Just to recap. Elijah has run in fear from Jezebel’s threat. He has ‘slid off the knife edge’. He has thrown in the towel. He has spat out the dumby (Gee, I’m not being very compassionate – however God is being very compassionate). Elijah has collapsed in a heap. It’s all too hard! I’m all alone! I want to die! An angel comes and feeds him (twice) and sets Elijah’s journey to the Mountain of God. The writer (ie: the Holy Spirit) makes it clear the journey takes 40 days and 40 nights so Elijah has a soul searching, flesh verses Spirit, wilderness experience before he arrives at the Mountain of God. So now, as we continue the story, we will see if Elijah is ready to continue to be a prophet. Is God’s prize prophet still down and out! What is God going to do? 🙂
Let’s look at 1 Kings 19:9-19a
9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “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.
12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.
16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.
17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.
18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel — all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”
19 So Elijah went… (NIV)
Verse 9 reminds me so much of the conversation God had with Adam and Eve. In fact, it reminds me of the conversations God has with many people (including me). What I mean by this is, God already knows all the facts but He asks anyway. It’s like God is having a councelling session with Elijah – “Where are you at, Elijah?” “Are you there yet, Elijah?” So gently and so compassionately does the Lord deal with Elijah. Elijah’s response in verse 10 indicates he is ‘not there’ yet. He has a ways to go.
In verses 11 to 13 we have Elijah’s famous mountain top experience with God. God chooses to reveal Himself to Elijah in an awesome way. Elijah is going through the final part of His restoration. Elijah is having an intimate and direct encounter with the living God. God shows him His power and might and awesomeness and then His intimacy through His gentle whisper. What is God doing? He is doing what He has done to many, many people. He is saying, I AM GOD. I AM ALMIGHTY AND POWERFUL. YOU MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND BUT I AM IN FULL CONTROL OF EVERYTHING. MY WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN YOUR WAYS. I AM! I AM ALL THESE AWESOME THINGS (AND DON’T GET ON MY WRONG SIDE) BUT, ALSO, I LOVE YOU AND I CARE ABOUT YOU VERY MUCH!
So what is Elijah’s response? Verse 14, it appears Elijah gives the same response. Here is what I want to say about this. Elijah’s auto-response to God’s question comes blerting out again but (my belief is) it does not have the same ring or the same heart or the same hold on Elijah’s life now he has personally experienced the awesomeness and the intimacy and the rejuvination and the revelation of His Heavenly Father.
So, finally, verses 15 to 18, God tells Elijah His plan and verse 19 Elijah goes.
So what did Elijah go through? He was controlled by his fear and anxieties and wanted to die. He was tenderly and supernaturally fed by an angel. His sights and journey had been set to the Mountain of God. He has gone through a 40 day wilderness (I believe, flesh verses Spirit) experience. He has this mountaintop experience of the awesomeness and the intimacy of God. He has revelation of the plans of God and he IS BACK AND GOING!
May the Lord bring you revelation about this story of Elijah.