Closing the Gap 7.30.18

Week 30 Day 1

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 was a man called by God to speak truth about the spiritual corruption in his culture.  This corruption started at the highest levels of government and trickled down to the false prophets and the people who listened to them.  Elijah had been trained by God in faith and prayer through a program that included a great deal of time alone as well as increasingly challenging opportunities to trust God.  His faith journey culminated in a dramatic encounter with a large group of false prophets where the true God showed himself powerful and the false gods of the culture were defeated.  Immediately following this dramatic experience, Elijah found himself on the run from the wrath of the queen whose prophets had been destroyed by God. Now the prophet of God, fresh from an amazing display of the power of God, is hiding from a murderous queen.  His prayer at this point is “take my life.” This prayer is surprising and, yet, it is not. It is surprising in that this man had seen so much of the power of God. He had seen God provide food for him and others in miraculous ways. He had seen a dead boy raised to life.  He had seen God destroy wicked and deceitful prophets. Now, his prayer is “kill me.” It ought to surprise us that Elijah had seen so much of God and, yet, still fell short in trusting God. It ought to surprise us when we are like Elijah. It seems the human race’s common prayer is, “Yes, but what have you done for me today?”  We need to grow up in our faith. When the things of today are discouraging, we must remember to remember what God has already done. Now, on the other hand, this prayer is not surprising. We are human and we also live in physical bodies. Not enough food, not enough sleep, or too much stress or pain can “undo” us. James wrote, “Elijah was a man just like us” (James 5:17).  Take comfort in the fact that even this great man of faith was prone to the same kinds of discouragement that we are. We will always be closing the gap on where we are and where we could be in our faith. But don’t take too much comfort in his weakness; instead, be challenged by it as well. Just because it is often true that our faith in God’s faithfulness falls short, it doesn’t mean it has to.  You have reason to trust God today, even if today is full of discouragement and challenge. Will you?

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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