The Prayer Elijah Should Have Prayed
Introduction: Today is part II of my journey up to the Temple of God. In Psalm 121, the tone shifts from a plea for help to acknowledging where our help comes from. Anybody who has started a journey understands that the trip of a 1000 mile begins with a single step. In step 1, it was recognizing where we are and where God wants us to be. In step 2, it is acknowledging our need for God through the journey. Walking with our Lord, as many knows are not for the faint of heart nor the weak of mind because, the enemy is real, and he hates us. As you may see the title, I am going to speak to the story of Elijah and how history was altered because of Elijah’s choice. I pray that you will be blessed with this writing and that you will be encouraged to walk with me up to the Temple.
The brief introduction to Elijah: He was a Prophet from Tishbe in Gilead about the time of Ahab king of Israel (874 – 853BC). If anybody was a thorn in the side of the wicked king, it was Elijah. It was Elijah that called for a drought that would decimate Israel; he proclaimed this in the hearing Ahab and so, Ahab blamed Elijah for the mess the nation was in. It was on Mount Carmel that Elijah mocked the false priests of Baal, showed the priests and Israel who the true God is, and then had the priests of Baal put to death. When Elijah called for rain, he told Ahab “you better get on home it is going to rain” and then outran Ahab and his chariot to the gates of Jezreel (1 Kings 17-19). In later writings, I will speak more in-depth about Elijah how and why I admire him and why I believe he was on the mount of transfiguration (Mark 9:2-32). Suffice it for now as a springboard into Psalm 121.
There are four points that you need to understand about Psalm 121 that will guide you in your walk with Christ Jesus.
Point 1 – Where you need to set your focus (vs. 1-2)
In our world present day just as it was in the time Elijah, stress, and struggles misdirect our view. Elijah was worn out after the events on Mount Carmel and the exhausting run to Jezreel. Single-handedly, he broke the back of Ahab and put himself in the crosshairs of Jezebel. We must understand that anytime we minister, we are in a battle for our lives and that of the listener. The enemy of our soul knows just how to push our buttons and what it will take to stop us. The first thing Satan does is put up what looks like a more imposing mountain to frighten us. For Samaria, that person was the wicked Queen Jezebel. In her time, nothing happened in Samaria without her explicit permission. This creates a problem for those who chose not to see a person like Jezebel as a goddess or swallow her poisonous ideas. The crux is that no one wanted to offend the Queen out of fear for their life. In the words of the Wicked Witch of the West, “Just try and stay out of my way. Just try!” (Wizard of OZ 1939). The Queen felt herself to be an impenetrable wall only to find herself on the receiving end of justice. God knows that the heart of man is always on the evil and for that reason, he commands us to focus our attention him and make him our fear and dread (Duet 6:13). I will have you know that there is no individual living on planet earth that will not pass away eventually and all of the plans, however good or evil, will pass away with them (1 John 2:17 and Eccl 9:6).
Point 2 – God’s Promise to Us if we Fear not (Vs. 3-4)
There is just something about fear that causes us to run headlong into trouble. The enemy of our soul, Satan, sets the scenery like the drama master that he is, in order to produce the right effect at just the right moment. Satan might have told Elijah “You are all alone so, if Jezebel kills you, God will not have a light in Israel; you had better run.” So, run Elijah did all the way to a juniper tree at the edge of Mount Horeb. Satan’s next lie was “You are a wimp Elijah! Some Prophet you are running away from a woman. You might as well be dead.” You won’t find these words in scripture but, consider Elijah’s prayer, “Lord take my life, I am no better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4 amp). When the angels provided food for Elijah that day at the tree, resonate the 3-4 verses of the psalm. God will never allow our feet to slip when we are standing on the solid rock of our foundation; it doesn’t matter what the Devil is telling you or how real it may appear. Elijah is 100% human and by very nature susceptible to fatigue; just like us. In our fatigue, God provides rest both spiritually and physically. In our hunger, God provides food both spiritual and physical. While we are regaining strength in sleep or eating, God’s angels are all around us to protect us. Hence, He who keeps you will not slumber, not briefly, nor deeply. When we can grasp this concept, we can stand up to our fears and the father of fears with the truth “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind]. (1 John 4:4 Amp)”
Point 3 – The same one who holds the planets in place is the same one who keeps you (Vs. 5-7)
There are times in our life, just like Elijah, that we are at the end of our rope. Parents of children know the pain that Elijah must have felt. When all of our existence is spent either keeping the child safe or battling for their needs, eventually you get worn down. When we have given all that we have and are told “it is not enough”, the tendency is to sit back in a chair and refuse to do anymore. For Elijah, that chair was the mountain of God and a resting place in the grave. Elijah told God “I have been very [c]zealous (impassioned) for the LORD God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.” (1 Kings 19:10 Amp). It is hard to comprehend how that in the midst of the worst tragedies that God is still in control; in fact, it is easier to quit then it is to trust God when the sky over you turns bronze and the grounds turned hard as iron (Duet 28:23 NIV). Elijah would go on to anoint another Prophet Elisha Son of Shaphat as his replacement, the next king of Israel, and be taken up in a chariot (whatever that would look like). Some might contest that what happened to Elijah was all a part of God’s plan; in reality, it was not. Understand that just because something happens, it is not necessarily God’s best for your life. Many ministries and families have been ended because the people did not understand the concept that if we can just hold on a little longer and be just a little more tenacious we can get through the storm.
Point 4 – The Lie of Omission Leading to Fear
In Life, we are pulled sometimes in as many as three or more directions. The storms of our time contend for a precious commodity – our time. When we are worn down, our minds can be easily influenced to lose sight of who is really in control. The enemy of our soul will whisper in our ears “You are the only one who ______. If ____ happens, God will be dishonored, and his plans will shrivel up and die. You need to run back and resign before ______ happens”. God tried to tell Elijah “you are not alone”; Obadiah told Elijah “I have hidden a hundred prophets of God in separate caves and supplied them with food (1 Kings 18:3-4). The enemy, when he lied to Elijah, omitted one caveat that would have made all of the difference in the world “where you are currently standing”. Many of us have been lied to in the same way and it has caused us the same problems as it did for Elijah. How many marriages have ended, careers sunk, and dreams dashed because we fail to understand that when a word is omitted, or similar word is used the meaning of what is said is skewed in the direction of the author’s viewpoint. The more times we repeat the lie, the more ingrained that belief becomes to the point, like Elijah, that nothing God or anyone else says will change our opinion. When we forgo God’s best for our lives, there is rarely a chance to get it back and, if we do get it back, it will not be without great difficulties. The children of Israel when the doors opened to the promised land, they shut by refusing to go up out of absolute fear due to the skewed report. When the report came down from God through Moses “fine I will make them wander for 40 years in the desert until every man and woman of this age has passed away. Only Caleb and Joshua would get to see the promised land because of their attitude and faith in God. When the people heard the report, they cried about it and then took it upon themselves to go up to the land just to please God but, it was too late (Numbers 14:39-45).
I encourage you today and every day to listen to the voice of truth. Search the word daily, like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), and never give room for the lie of omission. God will always keep you even in the driest, darkest, and most depressing times of your life if you faint not. This week as I wrote this post, many thoughts crossed my mind where I had taken the wrong path out of the belief that it was the correct one. Along the way, people have been wounded by my choices of words and/or actions. This does not imply that God has forsaken me or loves me any less; it just means that God puts a new plan is a place from where I am present and the old one passes away (Jeremiah 29:11). The same thing is said of you. God loves you; failures, foibles, troubles and all! Don’t ever let the enemy convince you that God is through with you because of where you are in life or what you have done through your choices. Somebody reading this post may be at the end of their rope and ready to use the remaining piece to hang them self; to you, I say “grab hold of the hand that is reaching out to you and come walk with me.” May you all be blessed today and every day of your life as we walk up the steps to the Temple of God.
Yours in Christ Jesus