Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When I Am Weak, He is Strong...

I have read and reread today's passage. For weeks now, I've struggled with what to focus on in this section of scripture that is so full of heavy content and profound revelation. I have prayed for days about what I might write here, because I don't want to miss the thing that most needs to be said about Elijah's story if I only have this one opportunity.

1 Kings 15:25 through 19, and 2 Chronicles 17 cover some of the most fascinating events in all of scripture. It's in these chapters that Elijah shows up. This prophet of God lived during one of Israel's darkest times in terms of its idolatry, and he experienced a supernatural demonstration of God's power on Mount Carmel, several miraculous displays of God's provision for his physical needs, and a spiritual and emotional bout with depression and discouragement that rivals any other in all of the Bible.

In my own life, I have witnessed times when God showed up in a way for me that can only be described as miraculous. He has answered prayer, He has fought battles, He has demonstrated His provision, He has calmed my fear and He has spoken to me almost audibly through His Word and by His Spirit. And yet because I am still so prone to miss the marvelous and muddle in the mundane, I find myself compelled by Elijah's demonstration of his humanness as evidenced by his admitted fear; his "ready to throw in the towel-ness," evidenced by his flight to Sinai; and his "I'm done-ness" evidenced by his admission of feeling so alone.

I love that God gives us a picture of the highest highs and the lowest lows of earthly existence through the life of Elijah. And if there is one big lesson that I think we should take away from his journey, it might be to remember something that Charles Spurgeon noted when writing about this great hero of the faith:

"Elijah failed in the very point at which he was strongest, and that is where most men fail. In Scripture, it is the wisest man who proves himself to be the greatest fool; just as the meekest man, Moses, spoke hasty and bitter words. Abraham failed in his faith, and Job in his patience; so, he who was the most courageous of all men, fled from an angry woman."

My prayer for myself today--and my prayer for you, is that we keep ourselves on guard and prayed up in the areas that we believe ourselves to be secure. If Elijah, a man who witnessed the visible, supernatural demonstration of God's might and power, could later fear that this same God couldn't easily protect him from a mouthy, idolatrous woman, God help us!

Lord, as we humble ourselves in recognition of our weaknesses, please open our eyes to all delusion and deception, keep us strong and safe from the enemy's plans to devour or destroy, and perfect your strength in our weakness by fighting for us as we face life's battles and temptations. Create in us clean hearts and keep us from evil as you keep the evil one from us, in Your Most Holy, Wonderful Name, Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

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