June, 2009 Topic: Elijah … Continued from May 31, 2009
2009 – Day 151.June 1 – Into the Shadows
Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 2 - 6 … 2 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” … 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
My Journal for Today: Moving from May into June, we are not only sticking with the life of Elijah; and, once again, Swindoll is still focusing on the same passage in 1st Kings 17. And as a teacher I love it when another gifted teacher, in this case Chuck Swindoll, shows me (us) how we can (and really should) drain a passage for all it has to tell us so that we grow from the study of God’s word.
Today Swindoll focuses on one small phrase in verse 3, … God’s command for Elijah to “get away” and “hide” himself. God’s command “to hide” in this passage is the Hebrew word “cathar” (pronounced suh-thar’). If you do a word study on this Hebrew concept, it usually carries the connotation of getting completely out of the scope of others, i.e., to voluntarily conceal oneself where others cannot find you. And that’s exactly what God wanted for Elijah?
But we might naturally ask why would God want a gifted Prophet, a spokesman for God’s truth, to get away from the limelight where Elijah could be trumpeting God’s word to the people and especially to the wicked king, Ahab. But therein lies the first reason why God commanded that Elijah “hide” himself. He wanted to protect Elijah from Ahab; and then, secondly, God knew that Elijah needed to be fully prepared, by God, for the confrontations and kingdom work ahead.
Immediately as I read Swindoll’s continued exposition of this passage, I thought about how Saul of Tarsus, who had just become the Apostle Paul, was sent away by God into Asia Minor for three years to get away and prepare himself for the hard ministry which lay ahead. I thought of how Jesus had to get away and hide for 40 days and 40 nights, fasting and praying, in preparation for His encounter with the Devil in the wilderness (read about it in Matt. 4 or Luke 4). And more personally, I think about the process of discipleship God took me through with a mentor for a number of years, leading me into and through the memorization of His word from the Navigator’s Topical Memory Series [linked for your procurement].
In all of these instances, God had to lead the proponents and chosen people through a series of “boot camp” exercises or disciplines to prepare that person for what would lie ahead and what was needed for God’s man to be enabled for action. I remember what my mentor taught me years ago, … that ”God’s calling is His enablement!” And in Elijah’s case, God called His man to hide and get ready for what lay ahead in the working out of God’s will and His plan.
And if God is calling you to get away and take the time to learn humility and the rigor of Godly discipline, I exhort you to take whatever time necessary out of the limelight of the world to discipline yourself and get ready to do God’s work. Maybe God is calling you to take the time to pour His word deeply into your heart so that you can avoid sin patterns (see this linked passage in Ps. 119: 9-11). Or maybe God needs to prepare you to carry out a major task as the Lord was doing when He called out Joshua (see Joshua 1: 8) to lead His people.
But if God says to us, “go hide” and “get ready,” I think we all know what we must do.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I thank You for those years of preparation and solitude, where I learned the disciplines You needed to teach me to lead in Your spiritual warfare. Amen