A LIVING SACRIFICE
“What are you doing here, Elijah?” ~1 Kings 19:9, New International Version
These are the words of our sovereign God to the prophet Elijah on Mount Horeb (also called Mount Sinai). He was victorious in his battle against the false prophets of Baal, but at a cost. Every win costs us something. For Elijah, it was peace. Safety. His peers in the ministry. Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. ~1 Kings 19:3-5, New International Version The same Elijah who outran King Ahab's horses, same prophet who exposed a false god, same man who called on the Lord and brought the rain... was tired. Every win costs us something. The man whose name was synonymous with victory was so overwhelmed that he prayed he might die. Living a successful life of sacrifice will cost you. Not living it will cost you more. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” On its own, this could be the prayer of a priest, a prophet, or a pessimist. It could be the words of a winner or a loser, a victor or a victim. The difference is in the context, the character, and the call.
Context. Character. Call.
We all need a safe place to be human.
Having the strength to do the works of the Lord should be the desire of every Christian yet it must still be done through an earthen vessel. Elijah had the wherewithal to retreat, to remove himself from the frenzy and deal with his overwhelm. He left his servant behind and went into a wilderness to fight the battle of self.
Having the strength of context to separate for a season of sorrow from others positioned him to be free in his humanity.
“I have had enough, Lord,” he said.
Elijah never spoke of his dismay to another. Only to his Lord. He didn't complain about how hard the win was or incite others to do the work meant for him. He did his job, then brought his despair before the only one that could make it all right. His Lord. It takes a strength of character to not make our exhaustion the main story and in turn douse the flame of the Spirit. Elijah's strength of character provoked the heart of God, prompting the summon of angels on Elijah's behalf:
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. ~1 Kings 19;5-78 NIV
Having the strength of character to seek the Lord before all others positions us to receive the Lord's blessing.
Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. ~1 Kings 19:8 NIV
Like most of us, I get excited about the thought of God's overflow becoming a reality in my life. And we should. Jesus promises an abundant life. But we can't enjoy the overflow if we do not embrace the everflow.
Everflow is Heaven's response to the ebbs & flows of our human experience. It is his sufficient grace, his sustainable source.
It's food from the mouths of ravens.
A jar of water on a rock in the wilderness.
Good sleep in a safe place.
Someone coming to come and see about you.
Yes, YOU, instead of you always having to see about everyone else.
It just what you need when you need it and how you need it.
An ever-flow is the absolute care and concern of the Holy Spirit when life feels like a drought. But this kind of covering only comes when we answer the call on our lives.
Having the strength to live at a loss for Christ positions us to live in the fullness of Christ and receive power for the journey ahead.
Looking for God?
“What are you doing here, Elijah?”
The Lord asked Elijah this question twice; once while he was still inside the cave and again after Elijah in reverence of the Almighty covered his face and stood on the mountain. God positioned not to see the Lord, but to hear the Lord (faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of the Lord).
God was in the whisper.
This moment was a special revelation from God.
It is the whisper of Heaven provoked by our commitment to the call.
This is a revival of faith moment for Elijah. A reminder of his role in the Master Plan. It positioned him for the power necessary to finish strong.
God needs for you to finish strong.
Are you looking for God? Are you seeking his whisper?
Need a revival?
Be obedient to the Lord.
Submit self to the Lord.
Have reverence for the Lord.
Listening for the Lord.
This is what draws Christ nearer.
Find his power in your placement.