20th May 2009

Faith in persecution

I was reading 1Kings 19 recently and came across this passage in verse 14:

He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

It quickly brought to mind several other passages, including:

Matthew 22:33-46 which describes the landowner who sends various servants to collect the fruit of his vinyard, and finally sends his son, whom the evil vinedressers kill to presumably take all of the land for themselves. God seems to be showing here that he is purposeful in tarrying and has been acting throughout all history to collect and receive his due. Through His Son Jesus he has made his final gesture towards the wicked and the time is drawing near when he will come to reclaim what is His – namely His creation and the glory and honor due to Him. This isn’t mean, it is incredibly loving. How have we tossed aside God for years on end with no thought to really knowing or loving him…?

It is, as I heard recently, like being married to a woman and loving the things she loves, but wanting no part in being with her. Caring nothing at all about that person, only the things she enjoys: movies, books, children. Having and showing no real love at all for your wife. What kind of marriage would that be?

The verse above, uttered by Elijah, also reminded me of Jesus’ agonizing prayer (uttered three times according to Mark 14) in Gethsemene. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to [his disciples]. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

I hear the same anguish from Elijah… and we see the same willing obedience when he follows the commands of the Lord to continue on.

God shows His compassion towards Elijah in 1Kings 19 in two ways. First, He allows Elijah to get a glimpse of what he has in store, reassuring him that the Lord’s will is indeed going to be carried out and that the worshipers of the Baals will be wiped out of Israel. This is the culmination of much of what Elijah has worked for. Second, through these tasks God brings Elijah back into an obedient position and resets his life with purpose and direction.

The final verse it brought to mind was John 12:25 – The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

This is such an amazing verse that points directly at the faithfulness of Jesus and how we should emulate His sacrificial life, giving of ourselves, even to death in order to reap the benefits of true everlasting life. Even though Elijah was afraid and concerned for his life, he remained faithful when God called him to call Elisha to service and (through Elisha) anoint the new kings over Syria and Israel.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 8:49 am and is filed under Clint's Prayer Journal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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