2009 – Day 157.June 7 – Our Obstacle Course
Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 5 – 7 … 2 Then the word of the LORD came to him [Elijah], 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: Today I read Chuck Swindoll’s devotional for this day in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives; and normally, I just use this as a guide for what God, the Holy Spirit, gives me to share as my devotional journal entry. But today, I was touched to the core by what Pastor Swindoll had to share; and I would discredit this fine teaching effort to do anything other than just quote what this faithful shepherd has to share. So, I quote this dear servant exactly as he has written the following about Elijah’s bootcamp experience.
Chuck Swindoll: Part of every boot camp experience is the grueling, grinding, and sometimes daunting obstacle course. It is neither fun nor easy, but its demanding discipline prepares the recruit for whatever situations he or she may face in the future, particularly under enemy fire. In the spiritual life, before we can truly benefit from “the hidden life” that God uses to prepare us for whatever future He has planned for us, we must overcome at least four major obstacles. I think of them as four rough membranes of the flesh: pride, fear, resentment, and long-standing habits. Conquering these layers of resistance will prepare us for the future and harden us for combat with the adversary.
In a very real sense, God has designed a boot camp for His children; but it doesn’t last just eight or ten weeks. Nor is it a weekend seminar we can take or a day-long workshop we can attend. God’s training course takes place periodically throughout the Christian life. And there, in the very center of obstacles and pain and solitude, we come to realize how alive God is in our lives – how alive and in charge. He will invade us, reduce us, break us, and crush us, so that we will become the people He intends us to be.
No matter how many years we walk with the Lord, we must still, at times, pass through our own Gethsemane. It happens every time He sends us to the brook to live the hidden life. It happens every time He disorients us as He displaces us; every time He pulls out all the props; every time He takes away more of the comforts; every time He removes most of the “rights” we once enjoyed. And He does all this so that He can mold us in the person that we otherwise never would be. He knows what He’s about.
Elijah went to Cherith as an energetic spokesman for God – a Prophet. He emerged from Chrerith as a deeper man of God. All this happened because he was left beside a brook that dried up. Alone, but not forgotten. Tested, but not abandoned.
Wow! What could I add to that? Nothing, I assure you; but I pray that, like me, you are enlightened by Pastor Swindoll to realize that God is giving us all our boot camp obstacles, as He did with Elijah, to prepare us for what lies ahead and to prepare us to be his witness in this world, … a witness who can shine His light and glorify the Holy Father.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for the obstacles You put us through to shape our witness for You. Amen