Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Learning to trust

Then a revelation from the LORD came to (Elijah): “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide yourself at the Brook Cherith…”

Then the word of the LORD came to (Elijah): “Get up, go to Zarephath … and stay there.”

Have you ever had to rely on God for step-by-step instructions? The Bible says God’s word functions as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, but, frankly, I’d much rather have a spotlight.

If life is a journey, then I feel like the last year has been a crawl through darkened mazes with nothing but a lighter to guide my way. There are times I’m tempted to despair and quit moving. It’s not like I’m making any progress, anyway, and I’ve probably spent the last year walking in circles – much like the children of Israel during their 40-year desert vacation.

But today I heard someone share about Elijah’s life and how this revered prophet also experienced a time when God revealed just enough information to get Elijah to the next destination. There was no big picture revelation or hint at what was to come. Yet Elijah was faithful to follow God’s sparse directions each time God spoke. This all occurs in 1 Kings 17.

Just one chapter later, we read about Elijah’s public and humiliating defeat of the prophets of Baal. During the battle, Elijah announces that his God is the one true God, and he challenges 450 prophets to a contest. The prophets dance, sing and pray all day long in hopes of getting Baal to consume their offering with fire. Finally exhausted, they sit down and relinquish the stage to Elijah. Elijah pours water over his sacrifice and fills the trench around his alter with water. He makes one supplication of God, and bam! God sends a fire that consumes the offering, alter and water.

I’ve often wondered how Elijah had the faith and trust to publicly challenge the prophets to a showdown. Perhaps his ability to trust in God was established from his years of following God one step at a time and finding God faithful at each destination.

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