Closing the Gap 8.2.18

By August 2, 2018 Daily Devotional

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Week 30 Day 4

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

1 Kings 19:2-14 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken 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.” 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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 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?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken 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.”

Reflect:

Elijah’s experience with God was unique.  Some might envy his direct conversations with God as well as the fantastic experiences of God’s power which he witnessed.  However, I doubt anyone would envy the cost of his experiences. Elijah lived a very difficult and lonely life. He suffered times of dark despair and doubts.  He did not doubt whether God was alive and involved, but he had doubts as to whether his own efforts and sacrifices were worth it. In the passage for this week there is a line that is easy to miss if you are not paying attention: “He traveled forty days and nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.”  Forty days and nights would be a long journey on a train with a sleeping car, but this journey was by foot. Why did God have him make this difficult journey? Could he not have spoken to Elijah where he was? Perhaps he was still trying to escape the wrath of the murderous queen. Perhaps he needed that time to prepare to hear from God. He had no electronic devices to keep him occupied or distracted along the way. Hearing from God requires time and attention.  We cannot give God a 5-minute slot on our schedule and demand he “get to the point.” It takes God time to speak mostly because it takes us time to be ready to listen. I suspect that for much of the 40-day journey Elijah didn’t need an electronic device to distract him. His own thoughts were probably enough. He really did believe some things that were not true and so he could not wait to tell God what was on his mind. When he finally arrived God asked him, “Why are you here?”  Elijah answered the question with a complaint. He believed he was the only one living faithfully and the “reward” for his efforts was that people were trying to kill him. God’s answer to Elijah’s complaint was to instruct him to step out of the cave so he would experience God’s presence. What happened next must have been terrifying. A hurricane force wind attacked the mountain, shattering rocks as they were swept along. Then an earthquake shook the mountain followed by a fire.  Perhaps massive boulders were loosened by the wind and fell to the foot of the mountain causing the earth to shake. Maybe the storm produced lightening that struck the brush and set the mountain on fire. Whatever the effects, God was the cause. But he did not appear to Elijah in all of this awesome display. In the stillness after the storm, Elijah heard a gentle whisper. Maybe it was the same whisper he had heard as a child when he was first learning to hear from God. God was in the whisper.  As God seems to do at times, he repeated his question. Elijah answered the exact same way as before but now, it seems, he was ready to hear God’s mind on his situation. God spoke in the gentle whisper and gave him a correct perspective as well as a course of action to take. Are you in a hurry? Have you left no space in your mind for God to speak? How will you be ready to hear the gentle whisper of God if your own mind and life is all wind, and quake, and fire? Be still. Find a way to make a space for God to speak.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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