Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 19; Psalm 5-6, 11, 16-17, 20
I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears.
My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.
Go away, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer.
May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
May they suddenly turn back in shame. – Psalm 6:6-10
I trust in the Lord for protection.
So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!” – Psalm 11:1
Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. – Psalm 16:1
Through Elijah’s life, we see that we serve the God who provides AND the God who strengthens. As we look at what happened after Elijah faced off with the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, when God provided the fire and when God provided the rain, we see that Elijah is once again in need of God’s providence and strength.
Ahab’s wife Jezebel was very unhappy when she heard the prophets of Baal were dead and she vowed to kill Elijah. Elijah ran in fear from his enemy, becoming so discouraged he prayed that he might die. But God provided once more for Elijah – He provided sleep, food and water. Then He provided strength saying, “Get up and eat some more, for the journey ahead of you will be too much for you” (1 Kings 19:7b).
“The journey ahead will be too much for you.” Take notice that GOD DID NOT SPARE ELIJAH THE JOURNEY BUT STRENGTHENED HIM FOR WHAT WAS AHEAD, a journey that would take 40 days and 40 nights. His destination: the mountain of God. God was about to provide one more thing for Elijah – His presence.
When Elijah arrived, God asked him a very important question: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah was seeking God and God gave Elijah the opportunity to say exactly what he wanted God to do for him. Then God gave Elijah the most precious of gifts – time in His presence.
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave (1 Kings 19:11-13).
And now, as Elijah stood in His presence, God asked once more, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” And for the second time, Elijah answered, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty…and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (19:14)
This reminds me of the many times I have complained to God that I am going through a difficult time in spite of the fact that I have served Him. I have in essence whined to God unnecessarily. God knows our heart and He knows when we have been faithful and when we have not. HE DOES NOT ALWAYS SPARE US THE JOURNEY, BUT HE IS ALWAYS WILLING TO STRENGTHEN US FOR WHAT IS AHEAD.
2 Chronicles 16:9 – The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.
I encourage you today to find time to enter into His presence. Imagine God asking you, “What are you doing here?” What will you say? What do you want the God Who Provides and the God Who Strengthens to do for you today? It’s time for me to finish my morning coffee and do the same.
“O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone” (2 Chron. 14:11a).
The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him…whenever they were in trouble and turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him…Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul…They earnestly sought after God, and they found him (2 Chron. 15:2,4,12,15).
My steps have stayed on your path;
I have not wavered from following you.
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings. – Psalm 17:5-8
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love. – Psalm 5:11-12
In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from harm…
May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed…
May the Lord answer your prayers.
Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king.
He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power.
Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm. – Psalm 20:1,4,5b-8