GEMS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
(Please read 1 Kings 19:1-18 for context.)
Elijah was feeling tired and dejected. To him, all his devotion and hard work in serving the Lord seemed to make little difference. He felt as if he had reached the quitting point and just wanted to die. The Lord, however, had more planned for Elijah, and He prepared him for what was yet to come.
When Elijah reached his appointed destination, God gave him the opportunity to express the disappointment lying on his heart. The great prophet was still a humble human being who struggled with weariness and despair. The Lord listened and then showed Elijah that there was much more going on than he realized—things of great significance—and the Lord would provide him with everything he needed to serve and glorify the God of his fathers.
Wind, earthquake, and fire were sent—signs of power and judgement. While such things are impressive, they are not how the Lord works in hearts. Extraordinary power was in abundance when Elijah stood against the prophets of Baal—God’s fire consumed the sacrifice, the altar, and even the water; but how many people were moved to repent? The king himself redoubled his efforts to hound the prophet. God showed Elijah that he was to focus just on what God said and continue working in the kingdom. It was no time to be distracted by how poorly others responded to what God revealed.
Believers love to hear how God came to Elijah in “a still small voice.” When God comes in that way, it shows intimacy and tenderness between God and His people. They really need this, and perhaps even more so when they are feeling down and out. It is His way of reassuring them that He remains at their side and will be with them whatever comes their way. And what is coming their way? It is nothing less than what God intends to use to support His children and extend His kingdom. There may be times when we consider how things are going in our lives and conclude that everything is going to pieces. What we don’t see is how God is working everything together in His grand fashion to fulfill His good and gracious will and to glorify His name. That means we can relax and focus on the role He has given us, knowing that He is fully aware of the big picture and working all together for the good of those already in His kingdom and those He is going to bring into it.
We can become excessively preoccupied in what we are doing and hyper-focused on our strategies. It’s not about us! “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ . . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:20) We know that the message we share may be an aroma of death or an aroma of life to the hearer (2 Corinthians 2:16), but how it turns out is not our primary concern. First and foremost, we want to be faithful and convey accurately what the Lord has revealed in His Word.
It does not help to worry about what people may think of us when we faithfully proclaim God’s Word. Once again, it’s not about us. Not ever. It is always about serving the Lord and glorifying Him; and He is glorified most of all when we proclaim the Gospel, for the Gospel alone is “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), and our ministry, as laypeople and clergy, is first and foremost about seeking and saving the lost. “Repent and believe” is the foundation and substance of our message and why we are here. Jesus says to us all, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21) We pray that the Lord will equip us to serve exactly where He has placed us in His grand plan of seeking and saving the lost!
Delwyn Maas is pastor of Gift of God Lutheran Church in Mapleton, North Dakota.