Draw Near

‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’ James 4:8

Along with all the prophets, Elijah led a prayer-filled life. In 1 Kings 17 we read of him in conversation with God as he proclaims ‘In the name of the Lord, the living God of Israel , whom I serve,’ as he tells Ahab there will be no rain for two or three years. He then obeyed the Lord’s command and went to the brook of Cherith. He was still communicating with God when he went to the town of Zarephath. Elijah had great wisdom but not enough power to survive the drought. He needed to talk to God about it.

In the following chapters we read of Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal. Those prophets had power but nothing compared to Elijah’s God and it was on this God that Elijah depended. Verse after verse we read of him talking to God. Then in further chapters we read of him fleeing from Ahab and hiding in the wilderness. It is there that God comes to him in the form of a still small voice

Heavenly communication is not broken for this prophet of God. Today we have our own Ahab and prophets of Baal to contend with. God is still willing and anxious to be in communication with us. We only need to be willing ourselves.

Elijah and Elisha

We see in 1 Kings chapter 19 as Elijah stands outside the cave, God gives him instructions. He is to anoint two new kings and also anoint Elisha as his successor. I wonder how he felt about this. He and God had had quite a history together. The list of events was quite impressive – fed by ravens when there was a drought, being used by God to give oil to the widow at Zarephath and restoring her son back to life. Then there was the run-in he had with Ahab on Mount Carmel and finally fleeing for his life.

Then God tells him, his time is nearly over. He has to anoint his successor. Elisha is the prophet who will now be in the limelight. How did he feel about that? Was he resentful, wanting to remind God of all that he had done for Him? Why couldn’t he continue being the man that God using in the confrontations with Baal worship?

I think of my own life. As I get older and not so fit and strong, various Christians tasks I have been involved in are now being handed over to others. I’m not always as happy and gracious as Elijah was. I want to be in the middle of the action. I don’t want to be on the side lines and forgotten. I suppose this is just another lesson that God is teaching me.

Looking in the Wrong Place

There are probably times, like Elijah, when we are looking for God in the wrong place. This prophet was used to seismic things happening in his life. He had massive run ins with Ahab and incurred the deadly wrath of Jezebel. There had been the devastating drought in Israel, brooks drying up and people starving. He had waited as God brought down fire on the altar when God was pitted against Baal.

Although in hiding in a cave Elijah was still linking God with mighty happenings. He felt a great and powerful wind but ‘God was not in the wind. ‘ The wind was followed by and earthquake but ‘God was not in the earthquake.’ For the fire that followed, Elijah was on familiar ground. God and he had dealt with fire before. ‘But ‘God was not in the fire.’

Elijah was looking in the wrong places. Then came a gently whisper. That was where God was and often that is where He is for us.