It is a New Year. And with a New Year come new challenges as well as new opportunities. In this transition season from 2017 into 2018 I have been led to 1 Kings chapters 17-19 looking at the beginning of Elijah’s ministry. God’s question to Elijah has become God’s question to my heart.
“What are you doing here Elijah?”(1 Kings 19:9, 13)
Insert your name in for Elijah’s. God is asking us important questions more than we realize. Are we listening? Do we receive it as a personal question from His heart to our heart? God was trying to get at the root of Elijah’s disappointment and frustration that had led him to the desert to seek out God for an answer. See, Elijah was frustrated and disappointed with God for not doing what he thought He should do. Elijah had been obedient and God had done mighty miracles through him, but Elijah was not seeing the result that he thought he should see. He expected that after the big showdown on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18) that there would be a revival among the people of Israel and that the evil leaders Ahab and Jezebel would also repent or be overthrown. (1 Kings 18:37) When that didn’t happen fear overtook the mighty Elijah and he ran for his life into the desert and began pouting “under a broom tree.” (1 Kings 19:4)
In this transition into a new year, I have found that I have been pouting “under a broom tree.” I have deep inside my soul been frustrated with God and His Church not doing what I think should be done. There are many facets to this personal “pouting” and frustration of mine I don’t have space to get into in this blog. But a powerful principle we can learn from Elijah is that if we are frustrated, disappointed we “must” step toward God rather than run from God. We must get to a place where we can be open and honest with God. Often it takes a desert experience. BUT, we must also be willing to hear from God and humble ourselves before God. Elijah took an extended journey to meet with God and get re-connected to Him and His call on Elijah’s life. God came to Elijah while he was hiding out in a cave. He told him to go “stand on the mount before the Lord.” What happened next was terrifying. A mighty wind, an earthquake and an all consuming fire, but then a gentle whisper and the tender redirecting words of God. So, why the wind, earthquake and fire? Elijah, like all of us need a healthy dose of humility and perspective when it comes to Who we are questioning and Who we are disappointed with. God needed to re-establish Elijah’s submission to His sovereignty. God knows best and is in control even when it seems like He is not. It is in those times we must press in and take time to listen to the quiet whisper of His perspective and His plans.
Nothing will stop the flow of fellowship and clarity of purpose in our relationship with God like holding onto the feeling that God did not do what He was supposed to.
In the “sound of a low whisper” the Lord re-established Elijah’s fellowship, calling and direction! Don’t stay under the broom tree. If you are frustrated, disappointed and maybe even angry with God don’t stay pouting under the broom tree. Journey to God with it. He will meet you with supernatural grace, BUT you must (we all must) be willing to lay down our idea of what should have happened, our right to get an answer to why something happened or didn’t happen. The only way to “stand before the Lord” is in complete submission to His sovereignty and trust in His loving kindness.
“What are you doing here, _____?”