Page 3 - June 2021 - Truth & Tidings
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t’s understandable to be down these   Elijah would also learn that God’s workers
            days. The inability to enjoy regular  need each other. In running away, he left his
        Ifellowship with other believers, com-  servant behind (19:3), a companion whose
        bined with other stifling restrictions, either  support may have lifted him up. We can’t
        self-imposed or government-mandated,  make it by ourselves in the Christian life.
        is enough to discourage the most cheerful  We need both the Lord’s direction and His
        saint. Add to that the sorry state of world   people’s encouragement. Elijah complained
        affairs and the constant toxic negativity of   that he was no better than his ancestors
        the news media, and you have a recipe for   (v4). Whatever made him think he might
        personal disaster. If we’re not careful, we   be better? His duty was not to compete
        may soon find ourselves despairing under   with yesterday’s servants, but to complete
        the juniper tree like Elijah.        today’s assignment. It’s easy to get down
          If you are down, although it may be justi-  when we begin to compare ourselves with
        fiable, you don’t have to stay there. Neither   other servants of God, whether from the
        did Elijah. The Lord wanted him to know   past or the present. But we all have differ-
        that although he was down, he was not out.   ent abilities and unique opportunities, and
        He was given a work to do, and as long as   we serve in our day, not in a day gone by. As
        that work wasn’t finished, neither was he.   God’s workers, we all need each another.
          The lessons from 1 Kings 19 are plenti-  Another helpful lesson when we’re down
        ful, but a few in particular may help us in   is to discover that God’s work awaits final
        our service for the Lord when we’re down.   evaluation. Elijah thought he had failed in
        One needed reminder may be that God’s   his service, declaring that he was the only
        work needs God’s direction. When we seek   faithful one remaining among the Israelites
        to do God’s work without His guidance,   (vv10,14). God had to remind him that
        the only direction in front of us is down.   7,000 of his fellow countrymen refused to
        Elijah had been divinely directed each step
        of the way. “The word of the Lord” came   bow their knees to Baal (v18). Elijah’s math
        to him repeatedly (1Ki 17:2,8; 18:1). But   was wrong. Only the Lord can properly
                                             evaluate the success of our service. God
        when Jezebel threatened to kill him, rather
        than waiting for the word of the Lord, he   alone knows whether we have failed or
        fled in fear, until at last, he found himself   succeeded. The final review will make
        despairing of life itself. How easy it is to   everything clear, and the feature of our
        lose our patience when the heat is on and   service most valuable to Him is faithfulness
        act without divine guidance. We can’t do   to His Word. Until our lives are completed,
        God’s work without His Word. Ultimately,   our service isn’t. And even if you’re down,
        God, in His grace, spoke to Elijah again,   you’re not out.
        informing him that he still had kings to   “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dis-
        anoint and a successor to appoint. God was  mayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen
        not done with him yet, but he could have  you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my
        avoided the juniper tree altogether.   righteous right hand” (Isa 41:10 ESV).

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