2009 – Day 173.June 23 – The Blues
Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 19: 1 – 9 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: If you’ve been following along with my study of Swindoll’s exposition of Elijah’s life, we’ve seen this Prophet of God building for the big fight. God took him off to a quiet safe place in Cherith and took him through a boot camp experience. Elijah then worked out with the widow and her child, where God used Elijah’s humility to bring back to life back to the Widow’s child. And then it was off to the heavyweight championship where our fighter for God took on and defeated 450 pagan prophets and then out ran Ahab’s chariot to boot. In that episode we saw how Elijah saw God’s promise and hope in the form one little cloud.
But now our Prophet has become weary as he takes on Jezebel, the wife of the king; and this dangerous lady seems to get the better of our hero, chasing him into the desert in fear. So, what’s with this? What has happened to our champion warrior who seems to turn tail and run? Well, it the beauty and balance of God’s word to show us the real deal, … the warts as well as the wonderful. And here we see our man, Elijah, who has likely become so tired that he can’t see straight; and he’s been taken down for the count.
In fact, in this scenario, we see that sometimes God doesn’t give His faithful warriors what they ask for in prayer. No, the Lord hears Elijah’s pitiful cry to die. Elijah, is under the tree crying for God to take him home. But instead of giving our pitifully prophet what he asks for; God gives Elijah exactly what His warrior needed. Elijah prayed for death and God gave our Prophet life. Elijah had taken his eyes off of His Savior and was looking inward toward self, which is often the most dangerous place to be looking in life.
And right now, as I do very often in my quiet place with God, my life-giving Lord has taken me back to the chorus of the old friend and faithful hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, which states …
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of the world will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Swindoll is right, it is not uncommon for us to take our eyes off of the giver and look to the gift. Or we can let our fears drive our vision into self, taking our eyes off of our Savior. And that is where Elijah found himself after those great victories. He was tired and became despondent and desperate with self pity. But God came to him just as Jesus promised He would in Matt. 11: 28 – 30 … where our Lord says to His disciples … "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
And God’s “NO” to Elijah's prayer to die was exactly what our downed hero needed to hear; and it’s often what we often need to internalize in a pity party. Thankfully God doesn’t always say “YES” to all of our prayers, especially when we’re seeing only self and not looking into the face of our Savior. And so God allowed Elijah his little pity party before he sat our fallen hero down; and let our burdened warrior get a dose of God’s R&R, … a time of rest and recreation, which brought our man back to the faith which had brought God’s truth to His people.
And my dear one, we can find God in the midst of the world’s troubles too. We just need to find a broom tree and sit down with God and get through our pity party, letting God reveal Himself to us so that we can go on by looking at God’s glory and grace rather than seeing only the darkness of the world.
Go back today, if you’re down and out, and sing that old hymn to yourself, or pull it up on your Ipod as I have this morning, and be lifted up with its wonderful message. "And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
My Prayer for Today: Your face is so glorious, Lord; and when I look to You, I am lifted up. Amen