July 2, 2017
Elijah was in a tight spot. He had challenged the corrupt religious and political powers that held Israel in a vice-like grip, and had won. In a toe-to-toe challenge, he bested 450 prophets of Baal, the Canaanite god of fertility. In a semi-arid land like Israel, where crop failure could mean famine and death, the fertility of the land was critical, and seeking divine favor was no small matter. Today, we might properly call Baal the god of prosperity, who is worshipped with equal devotion by both secular and religious people.
Elijah won the immediate challenge, but hadn’t reckoned with the fury of a woman scorned. Jezebel was more than a match for the bravest of opponents, and when Elijah learned of her threats on his life, he knew better than to stick around to see if she was serious. He ran. Fast and far. Once out of immediate danger, he stopped just long enough to rest and eat before heading into the desert to Horeb, the Mosaic mountain of God. It was there that everything changed.
Elijah had been questioning God, asking why he, a faithful servant, was being so mistreated. Although Jezebel was the reason for his exile, he was blaming God for not taking better care of him. “I’m the only faithful one left, and look at what you have allowed to happen to me,” was his complaint. This isn’t merely Elijah’s story; it’s ours, too. I have heard, “Where are you, God?” countless times in countless forms over the course of my life; people demanding that God answer their troubles to their selfish satisfaction.
What if in those times when we ask, “Where are you, God?” He is asking us the same question? “Where are you, Jim? Where are you hiding? Where is your heart? Where are your real loyalties? Where is your faith? Where are you?” I suspect that if instead of asking God where he is when trouble comes, we actually listened, we would hear God questioning us. Our answer to his question might go a long way towards helping us become the persons we were meant to be. The next time, when trouble comes your way, instead of asking, “Where are you, God,” try listening to his question to you: “Where are YOU?”
I am thankful tonight for this morning’s worship team devotional that put my mental gears in motion, and for the Scriptures that continue to give insight into life, revealing not only who and where God is, but who and where I am.