1 Kings 19: 11-18 (NIV)
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
They Planned, They Threatened, They Attacked, They Failed!
I have come to realize that oftentimes we fail to experience joy because we get stuck in the potential sorrow of what we thought would happen and ignore what actually did happen. In other words, our fears can become so real that they obscure our actual reality. For example, an entire generation of Israelites died in the wilderness simply because they were unable to enjoy the experience of actually being free. Despite all the blessings God kept providing during the Exodus experience, one generation could only see problems and pain. Unfortunately, that is what life can do to us.
We may not be the Israelites, but we still may have our own fears and problems. We can have so many bills, so many health issues, so many work projects, so many frenemies, so many accusers, or so many trials that we no longer can see what God is actually doing for us. In times like these when so many civil liberties are under assault and resources are controlled by so few, it can be hard to feel joy.
In 1 Kings 19, Jezebel had Elijah convinced that all was lost and that God was not at work. She had threatened Elijah, planned to kill him, and sent men to accomplish the deed. Jezebel’s actions made Elijah ignore that fire had fallen from heaven. He forgot that the prophets of Baal were destroyed. Verse 18 tells us that somehow Elijah was unable to see and know that 7000 people never bowed down to Baal. Like some of our own adversaries today, Jezebel and Ahab planned, threatened, and even attacked Elijah. Yet,regardless of what they tried, they still failed!Not a hair on Elijah’s head or body was ever harmed. The prophets of Baal never again became the dominant religion in the land. Despite their tremendous (human) power and resources, the enemies of God failed.
Beloved, in this advent season, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Jesus was born into this world so that you could be near to God and that God could be near to you. You are loved! Moreover, you are loved by a very real and supernatural God that does not fail. This year may have been hard. You may have experienced significant loss and pain. What you are going through may seem overwhelming and unconquerable. But I implore you: Don’t let what you see fool you!You can still have joy, unspeakable joy, because you know that greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world! They will fail! Your enemies may indeed come for you, but know they will fail! Do not be sad. Do not be scared. If you are saved and obedient to the will of God, God will keep you. It’s your enemies who will fail.