THE BRIGHTER THE LIGHT Andy Hollifield 12-4-17
1 Kings 19:14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works , and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Have you ever been where Elijah was? I don’t mean in a literal cave, but holed up somewhere, throwing yourself a big pity party, not even liking your own miserable company, and thinking that no one but you was even trying to live right much less do anything for the cause of Christ. Well, if you haven’t, pray for me because I have. Sometimes it seems like I have a reserved seat and my very own spot with my name on it in that cave because I visit it so frequently. That may not apply to you and I hope it don’t but I would guess that it does. If everybody was as joyful and ready to raid hell with a water pistol like we want people to think we are, the Lord wouldn’t have some of us writing articles and books trying to encourage the saints. The bad thing about discouragement is that, if left untreated, it will become infected and fester and wind up poisoning our entire system if we aren’t careful. That is exactly what happened to Elijah. In chapter 17, he had proclaimed a drought to King Ahab that was to last I think three and a half years. It was after this conversation with Ahab that the Lord told Elijah to go hide himself by the brook Cherith (cutting). He was fed by ravens while at the brook and had water from it until it dried up due to no rain. Then God sent him to a widow to be sustained by a woman who was on the brink of starvation along with her son.
There were other things that happened in this story but I want to move on to Mt. Carmel where he had the showdown with the prophets of Baal. Before we get there, there is a story within a story in this scripture. There is also the story of Obadiah, governor of Ahab’s house. You can read in chapter 18 how that he had to decide whether or not he was going to trust and believe Elijah. Sometimes we get in those places where we are living right and doing everything we know to do to please God and all of a sudden we find ourselves in a dark place of indecision and seek only to hear a word from the Lord.
After all that Elijah went through up to this point, he still had more to deal with. After the showdown and slaughter of the prophets of Baal, Elijah again found himself on the run for his life. Prior to leaving, he proclaimed an end to the drought, then prayed, and then sent his servant to the mountaintop to look for a cloud. This took place 6 times and on the seventh time a small cloud appeared. After outrunning a horse and chariot, the rains came in abundance. After Ahab told Jezebel how that Elijah had slain the prophets, she vowed to have Elijah killed within 24 hours. If you notice in chapter 19:3, no where had God told him to flee for his life at this point. That pretty much leads us up to verse 4 where the big pity party begins. This time, after having travelled a day into the wilderness, he goes to sleep under a tree and the Lord sent an angel to fix him a hot meal. The second time the angel came and woke him up, the angel had him to eat and told him he had a long journey. That time, he went forty days and nights and that brings us to the cave.
Think about the sequence of events in Elijah’s life. For at least three years after proclaiming a drought, he had lived in hiding. Then, after the greatest victory in his life, he got a death threat and was on the road running for his life again. Now, here was the same man who had been fed by ravens, sustained by a widow, called for a 3 and a half-year drought, slain 450 prophets of Baal, and outran a horse, in a cave hiding for fear of his life. Now think about it emotionally. One day you have been hiding in seclusion and the next you are showing yourself to a king that is trying to kill you. You are outrunning a horse one day and hiding by a brook the next. You cause it to rain one day and then are eating scavaged meat the next. God gives a great victory one day and then you can’t find him the next. There isn’t any wonder that he got discouraged or that we do.
When I look and see the things going on in the world today, I get discouraged to. Elijah was still on the earth a good while after all of these events because God still had a few things he needed him to do. If you read about his life after coming out of the cave, you don’t find where he was battling discouragement again. I use this story to illustrate the fact that “the darker the storm, the brighter the light shines.” God has you where you are for a reason and as I heard preached Sunday night by Rev. Barry Jenkins, he has a purpose for having you there. He knows right where you are and what you need. If you don’t believe that; how did he know where to send the angel to feed Elijah when he first went on the run? He knows. He can feed you in the wilderness or at the widow’s table. You don’t have to know or understand all that he is doing; but rest assured he is doing something. He is using you in ways that you may never know about this side of heaven. Don’t get Elijah syndrome and start trying to quit and throwing yourself a pity party, but start trying to carry on. Don’t “be weary in well doing.” God has a lot more than 7000 that have not sold out to the world and the devil. Just “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” I hope this will encourage someone who is in that dark place and discouraged because you don’t understand what God is doing. Remember; the darker the night, the brighter the light! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!