Monday, January 21, 2008

An unplanned picnic

I don't want to begin the week off with a "heavy" post, so I'm going to try and make this as light hearted as possible, even though I am trying to communicate a powerful truth. We had a great service yesterday, and I concluded my series on prevailing prayer. We end our 21-day fast on Tuesday this week and so it really worked out well for me to tie our prayer and fasting season into the idea of prevailing prayer. My primary text was the book of 1 Kings 17. It's the story of Elijah informing king Ahab that he was going to pronounce a drought on the land because of the way he (Ahab) had turned the people from worshipping God and instead resorted to worshipping idols.


On so many levels this seems suicidal. First, Ahab was a spineless, ungodly king. He was led around by the nose by his wife Jezebel, and she was not partial to 'Christians' or their God. This assured that, at the very least, Elijah was risking serious harm to himself, and at the worst, death. Gulp! Secondly, Elijah had heard from God... supposedly. What if he was wrong? It's not as if God came down at some point, sat with Elijah, and outlined this elaborate plan to scare Ahab into submission. However Elijah heard from God, whether as a quiet voice whispering in his ear... an impression on his heart... however he heard from God, he was convinced it was God that had spoken and he was committed to obeying that voice. So I ask again, what if he was wrong?

In a modern day application, this smacks of the sanatorium. I mean, it's bad enough that you somehow manage to wangle a personal appointment with the President of the USA, only to inform him that, because of his ungodly policies and decisions, which are leading the nation astray, God is about to make life extra difficult by suspending the natural course of nature for the next three years. "Mr. President, there's not going to be any rain 'cos I said so!!!" Then you inform your nearest and dearest friends that you are heading off to a brook called "Covenant" where you will be hanging out for the duration of the drought because God gave you personal directions on how to get there and He instructed ravens to bring bread and meat to you every morning and evening... What???

This is the stuff of fairy tales right? No, this is the true story of Elijah and his encounter with the wicked king of Israel, whom, up to that point was classified as the most evil king Israel had ever had. "Bravo Elijah, good for you and congrats on your boldness," I hear you say. Well hold up a second. His story indicts you and me. You see in James 5: 17 the Bible says "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years." So what does that mean for you and I? Seems pretty obvious to me, or wouldn't you agree?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ouch!

Hope Clark said...

When I heard this message, I remembered reading something by Bill Johnson... "Israel loved their dead prophets too." He was saying that Israel had a habit of only respecting and receiving the words from prophets that were already dead, not the ones alive in that day. It's still the same today. No one likes to receive a discouraging or hard word, or give a discouraging or hard word. But we have to get past that and realize how irrelavent that is to obedience.