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Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure,acceptable, or commendable."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

From the Mountain to the Valley

The following is from 1 Kings 19, most likely you have heard it. I am going to back up to 1 Kings 17:1 where Elijah tells King Ahab that there will not be any rain nor dew for the next few years except at his word. This is because King Ahab, Queen Jezebel and the nation were worshipping other Gods particularly Baal.

Then in 1 Kings 18 Elijah has King Ahab bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah to Mount Caramel. Elijah has the prophets of Baal set up an alter with a bull on it to sacrifice. He has them get it all ready, but not set fire to it. Then he tells them to call on the name of their God to see if he answers by setting the sacrifice on fire. For half a day they call out, rant, rave and carry on like mad men trying to get Baal to answer and nothing happens.

Elijah's now takes his turn to see if God will answer by fire. "31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, 'Your name shall be Israel.' 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs [a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood." 34 "Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!"' 1 Kings 18:31-39

Elijah then has all the false prophets seized and killed. He tells King Ahab, '"Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.' 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 'Go and look toward the sea,' he told his servant. And he went up and looked. 'There is nothing there,' he said. Seven times Elijah said, 'Go back.' 44 The seventh time the servant reported, 'A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea.' So Elijah said, 'Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.' 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel." 1 Kings 18:41-46

We see in 1 Kings 19 Jezabel wants Elijah killed for killing all her prophets and he has to run for his life. Now Elijah has just experienced two very powerful and emotional victories for the Lord by defeating the prophets of Baal and having the Lord bring rain due to his prayer. Instead of feeling like he was on a mountain, he was physically and emotionally exhausted which made him depressed. Finally Elijah stops running, sits down under a tree, and prays for God to take his life. '"...I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life..." 1 Kings 19:4

I have had enough! Have you ever felt that way. I know I sometimes do. Elijah was tired, hungry, and weary of not receiving any rewards for his work. I know as a mother, I often feel that way. What God did to lead Elijah out of this depression was to have him eat and rest and then sent him back to his mission. Most of the time making it to the mountain top is a hard climb requiring much energy. It is imperative to stop from time to time to eat properly and get plenty of rest. I believe that is why God calls for Sunday to be a day of rest. We all need rest from our busy lives. Then we will have the strength to focus on the work God still has for us to do. We may never get rewarded for our work on earth, but God has promised us that we will when we get to heaven. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 So the next time you find that you have tumbled off the mountain into the valley, take a break, eat, rest, and start climbing again!

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Staying on the narrow path - have a blessed week!

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