Elijah comes alive!

by John Shirk


Like  Lazerus, Elijah was a man of faith who needed to come alive. No, he wasn’t actually dead and buried. He just wished he was.

He had experienced great victories following God. A solitary man, he stood in God’s power and stared down the false prophets of Baal until fire rained down from heaven to consume a waterlogged sacrifice on a flooded altar.

Fire was followed by water as Elijah declared an end to the three-year drought that had devastated the land as a result of divine judgment. The heavens opened in answer to his prayers.

Imagine how great it must have felt to experience so many victories and displays of God’s power in so short a period of time.

And yet…Elijah finds himself running for his life. Finally he collapses in exhaustion under a tree and cries out, “I’ve had enough.”

Enough what? Enough prayer powerful enough to control the weather? Enough divine protection during the drought and famine? Enough fire from heaven? Enough victory over the prophets of Baal?

It couldn’t have been any of these. What was it?

If Elijah’s words are to be trusted, it was simple. He felt alone. In 1 Kings 19 he cries out to God about Israel’s unfaithfulness saying they “…have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left,”

In the aftermath of his greatest victory. Elijah found himself feeling hopeless, helpless, and alone. If I’m honest, I have to admit I can relate. It is easy for me to forget the past faithfulness of God when I’m struggling in the present worried about the future. I too, can feel hopeless, helpless, and alone.

How did God react? Not with judgment or condemnation. He told Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

I find this fascinating. Elijah feels alone, and God reminds him he is in the presence of God. God appears to be saying, “Elijah, you may be one man, but I am with you.”

But this doesn’t solve Elijah’s problem. Elijah repeats his lonely lament. Elijah is in the presence of God, complaining that he is alone.

Let that sink in for a second, because it sounds blasphemous.

Elijah is implying that God’s presence isn’t enough.

But God doesn’t condemn him. God doesn’t try to convince him that God’s presence is enough. God doesn’t remind him of all the amazing answers to prayer. God doesn’t give him a lecture about how God plus one is a majority. Elijah had already seen the truth of this when God plus Elijah defeated 450 false prophets.

What does God do? God gives Elijah new marching orders. He tells him there are 7,000 others who remain faithful.

In other words, “I know you are lonely. I created you to be in relationship, and not just relationship with me. You need other people. I still have 7,000 faithful people. Go find them.”

And the first thing Elijah does is find Elisha and end his solo ministry, building a community of faithful followers of God.

Some of us are not dead, but we wish we were. We feel hopeless, helpless, and alone. But God isn’t done with us. He calls us to come alive and join the thousands (even millions today) who are faithfully following Him on His mission of Grace turned Outward. It is not good to be alone. We were created for community.

Will you join the community and come alive?

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