Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Despair from a lack of change

Have you ever just wanted to quit because you felt like you were the only one seeking to hold high the standard of God? I mean you see some obvious issues in a person, your family or the church and you are giving so much time and energy trying to convince them that there is a problem and nothing. This could very well apply to a mom (hopefully a father too) and her children or of a marriage to an unbeliever.
I was thinking about this at work, and something that really stuck out to me a couple yrs ago that never clicked before was Elijah's despair. I was only exposed to the one view where Elijah is surprisingly pictured as this wimpish man who's afraid of Jezebel; but i really don't think that's the problem (hey i you got this the first time you read it, then bear with me). Elijah flees after a great miracle where he challenged the prophets of Baal and God consumed the altar by fire miraculously and the people pledged their allegiance to God also his prediction of ran after a long drought came true, King Ahab though told his wife Jezebel what happened and how Elijah put to death all their false prophets and so she sent a death letter to Elijah.
Although it does mentioned he was afraid, we must ask why? I believe he tells God the truth when God asks Elijah "What's the problem" Elijah said this in 1 Kings 19:10 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." and again in 19:14 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." Do you see now? The problem is that Elijah is convinced that these people will never change, what else could they see, Elijah felt like he was the only one seeking reform and all he was hearing was criticism and hate. Elijah knew full well, that the Israelites always went with the King, and since the king and his wife didn't change then, all else seemed hopeless. His cry was "Lord i can't take it, there's no use, just take me now-I'm not the one". God would reply "get over it, I have remnant, you're not the only one" Bless God for that. He does not leave us in despair, he encourages us to press on and in time he brings us companions to share our burdens. Initially God attempts to shatter out elitist pride and wake us up to the reality that it's about Him not us, but in His compassion to our weakness the Lord comforts and heals us. What happens next for Elijah? He gets a charge to find men who will fight with him, and immediately he finds a friend and co-worker Elisha. Press onward soldier and despair not, for your deliverance is at hand! You must be faithful to your charge, doing what you can with what the Lord provides and do it in expectancy, leaving the results to God.

Perhaps you are a young person that is so hungry for more, you see the state of the church in America (perhaps you go to an unhealthy church) and you think to yourself that this can't be it, you read the gospels and the book of Acts and you are convinced that the end is coming soon because no one seems to care about loving and obeying Christ Jesus. It all seems to be a joke, everything seems to be superficial. Well my friend many of us have been there and many of us have first found our comfort in reading old books, the puritans or biographies of men greatly used of God and you rejoice thinking "i'm not the only one" and then you repent thinking "Wow, these people were serious, i'm just complaining and they actually were doing something about the problem". After that you start crying out for change, you plead with people and suddenly God puts good teachers before you (physically, online or it might be doubtfully possible you find them on the radio) make sure you don't like them just because they can point and name every problem out there, yet they offer no counsel, no safeguard from sinning in the midst of what you see, say or do- make certain you find someone who is really burdened for the glory of God and mourning the state of the church and not a bitter and offended faultfinder. Lastly you will find some good friends, and a good church where you're exposed to God-glorifying passionate Jesus freaks.

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