Almighty God, let us have ears to hear what the Spirit says! Your word through Zechariah to Zerubbabel is a standard for each of us walking in obedience to Your calling, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit”. Thank You for revelation that is not of a natural source but comes from the throne of grace! Your word is a lamp unto our feet. Light the way to walk in Your ways and to hear what the Spirit is saying to us today! Amen!
Have you ever been used mightily by God and saw Him work miracles in your midst? We are overwhelmed by the glory of God and stand amazed in His presence. Then we move on in our day and WHAM! All of a sudden our eyes are off of God and onto our circumstances!
This is Elijah, the mighty prophet of God speaking! As a matter of fact, this is the second time he has repeated this little speech to God, this is how he feels and he’s not able, at this point, to see anything differently. Elijah is probably the best known prophet in scripture, mostly because of his confrontation with King Ahab, the king of Israel who had allowed his wife, Jezebel, to kill (to their knowledge) all of the Lord’s prophets in Israel so that all the prophets of Baal had full authority. King Ahab had a death warrant out for Elijah actually, but Elijah obediently went and called for a showdown between the prophets of Baal and himself, the prophet of Yahweh. The ultimate ending was that the gods of Baal were seen as false and God showed Himself powerful and mighty so the people turned back to Him. Elijah called them to overtake the false prophets and they killed all 500 that day!
But wait, the day isn’t over yet. They’ve been in a drought for three years and after all this, Elijah tells Ahab he better go back to Jezreel quickly because there is going to be a downpour. Ahab gets in his chariot and is on the way and the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah and he outran Ahab to Jezreel! (I Kings 18:46)
After a day of this proportion, why would Elijah speak these words to the Lord just because Jezebel states that she will kill him? Elijah was a man, a human being just like you and me. God had set him apart and consecrated him to be His messenger. Elijah didn’t act in his own power, everything that he did was done by the Holy Spirit. Some may say the Holy Spirit was not evident or working in the Old Testament but that is not true. Beginning in Genesis 1 we see the Trinity of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. Throughout the scriptures we see the Spirit coming upon God’s called to step out in faith and be His vessel.
Did the Holy Spirit fail Elijah? As the Apostle Paul would say, may it never be! No, He didn’t fail him. Scripture tells us that no one knows the mind of God. No one includes His prophets unless God speaks directly to them! The Lord is very clear on this. In Isaiah 55:8 He tells us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, …”
Scripture doesn’t actually tell us why the Lord had Elijah return to Jezreel. But I most definitely can feel the fear that gripped Elijah.
We see the human side of Elijah and take it for weakness. We often forget that God’s hand is in every situation of our lives. God either initiates the circumstance or He allows it. We cannot judge which it is without the Spirit giving us direct revelation. However, we do know that the only spirit of fear in scripture that is of God, is the fear of the Lord, which is to fear the One we love. Jesus feared the Lord and delighted in that fear (Isaiah 11:2-3). So the fear that Elijah is experiencing is not of God, but from the enemy. We are to see God use that to His glory (Romans 8:28). “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” What we do see is that God has another assignment for Elijah and allows him to move away from this situation so He can minister to him. Did He bring Elijah to Jezreel to allow Him to see within himself or did God bring him there to prepare Elijah for the change coming in his life? We won’t know the answer to that until we can sit with Him and get understanding. The point here is that we need to go to the Lord for understanding in every situation.
We often struggle with God’s plans for our lives. We think we know what God is doing and what God wants. We often miss the shift in plans (not a change of plans, but a shift of where God would have us) and we get upset and anxious and, unfortunately, often try to direct the situation to our understanding and do not go along with God’s plan. Maybe we take our eyes off God, as Elijah did, and now he is wondering if it was even worth it because all the prophets of God are dead! That wasn’t true, but remember, he can’t move past his fear or grief at this moment.
I thank the Lord that He still loves us, even when we seem to fail. In my own life I have experienced this. Yet God has shown me that He allowed the situations to test me. Even if I did not pass with flying colors, He uses that as a lesson in my life to teach me, to remove the areas in me that caused me to stumble, to strengthen me and to see that I had taken my eyes off of Him and tried to handle the situation in my own power. What a blessing that journey through the valley provides after the trial. While we do not quite appreciate the beauty of it when we are going through it, we stand amazed in His presence once we go through it and realize that God was in the situation and we now know more of His faithfulness!
Elijah’s current ministry was coming to an end, but Elijah did need to return to Israel and King Ahab. God always takes us back to the place of our failure/weakness to face the fear and walk through it victoriously before we can move on! The best is yet to come! Elijah now could accept God’s plan to appoint his successor and train him in this new season. Elijah’s latter years will be even more filled with God’s power than his former years!
We may not leave this earth in a chariot of fire, but if we continue to be faithful to God’s plans, whether they are large and on display, or they are small and hidden, that’s all God asks...He wants our hearts totally devoted to Him. Are you totally in love with Jesus today?