2009 – Day 174.June 24 – When the Darkness Hits
Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 19: 1 – 9 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: In today’s devotional guidepost from Chuck Swindoll, he tries to help answer the question as to why our Prophet/Hero, Elijah, found himself in the pitiful mess he was in under that broom tree in the wilderness. How could a man who had just been on such a spiritual and personal high fall so low? And the answers should call attention to a number of warning posts for our consideration as Christian warriors.
First, and I think foremost, Elijah had just experienced his highest high spiritually, bringing down the prophets of Baal and calling down fire and rain from God on high. And we simply must learn that we become quite vulnerable to our sense of pride and hyper-ego when are riding the high of victory or success in life. I’m thinking now of a couple of other examples of this in Scripture, … Moses in the OT and the Apostle Paul in the NT. Both of them experienced some deep and discouraging setbacks after they had been riding highs in doing God’s business. And anytime God allows us to go high in life, we need to stay grounded and realize that God’s grace cannot pour into a mindset of pride (read the truth about it in Prov. 3: 34, 1st Peter 5: 6, and James 4: 6).
Secondly, Elijah was physically and emotionally exhausted; and fatigue can make cowards of anyone. The Prophet had been riding on the edge of life spiritually for years, during the drought, and like most of the people, he was expended of physical sustenance. Then he had that ego trip of out outrunning Ahab’s chariot, which likely took place in the mud of a flood. And then he had to run to escape Jezebel’s pursuit. I can remember my old high school football coach quoting the great football coach Vince Lombardi, who was the one who said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” So, when it came to practicing in the heat of August our coach was preparing us to be in shape for the games in September, knowing that tired football players are vulnerable to defeat. And this was where Elijah found himself, panting in fear and fatigue under that broom tree.
Finally, and I think this is a biggie, … Elijah had separated himself over time from the fellowship of other believers to rally around him and lift him up. I’m thinking now of that marvelous passage in Exodus 17 [linked for you] about Aaron and Hur lifting up the tired arms of Moses so that God could bring victory in battle for God’s people. I think of Jesus surrounding himself with disciples as He walked His walk of ministry all the way to the cross. Man was created for togetherness and fellowship with God and his fellow man. Hence the exhortation in Hebrews 10: 24-25 [also linked for you], not to set ourselves apart from other believers, especially as we see the day of the Lord approaching. And Elijah had become a “Lone Ranger” believer over time; and this made him vulnerable to his spiritual enemies.
So in Elijah’s broom tree pity party, we see the result of allowing pride, fatigue, and loneliness into our minds and lives. And the vigilance lesson is rather straight forward. As warriors for God, we simply cannot allow ourselves the luxury of become prideful when God brings victory in our lives. We must stay disciplined in our physical/emotional lives so that we avoid abject fatigue from making us cowards in battle. And finally we simply must stay connected to other Christians who, when we might get tired or disoriented from battle, can lift us up and keep us going.
Do you have these factors in mind as you have prayerfully put together a battle plan for life? Because if you don’t have a plan to remain humble, in shape, and connected, you can bet Satan has a plan to help you become prideful, broken down physically, and disconnected from God’s people. He will do all he can to see you become prideful, fatigued, and disoriented so that he can take you to some broom tree and hear you give up on being a warrior for God.
My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, help me to stay focused on You, … to remain vigilant and in shape for battle, … and always to stay connected to the family of God. Amen