Unable to sleep, I thought I would do some reflection on living in these times. Paul told Timothy that we would be living in “perilous times” and we are living in those days now. I have listened to people talk about the state of affairs in the world and they are astonished about the level of evil that exists. I agree, acts that are committed daily against little children, the elderly, the poor and the helpless is almost unbelievable. As I think about this level of evil, I am reminded of the Prophet Elijah and the evil he fought against. If you don’t know the story it is found in 1 Kings Chapters 18 and 19.
Elijah was one of the important Biblical prophets, he is also my favorite Old Testament character, he lived in the 9th C BC during the times of wicked King Ahab and his queen Jezebel. Elijah was a great prophet who stood against the might of Kings and false prophets. He arranged a contest between the prophets of Baal and himself. There were four hundred against one. Elijah won the contest when fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice. And in a non-politically correct way and a show of religious intolerance he had all 400 prophets killed. This so enrage Jezebel that she sent a message to Elijah saying, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When the LORD asked Elijah why he was hiding his answer was, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” Elijah was depressed, discouraged and saw no hope for the future. But Elijah was born for the time he was living in and God had plans for his life.
Even though evil was everywhere and his life had been threatened the LORD told him to stop worrying about what might happen and get busy doing what he was called to do.
15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
We are right in our assessment of the evil that exist in our government, our communities, and even in our places of worship. We have like Elijah, spent our spirits dry worrying about these evil days. As I reflect on this story of Elijah I am reminded that we were born for these times. All throughout history Children of the LORD have become discouraged over the evil that was around them. They became weakened by dwelling on the battles that were beyond their control. These battles are not ours but the LORD’s.
We were born for these times and the LORD has placed us here for a specific reason. Even though we will meet the resistance of the world, be hated, despised and ridiculed we are here at this present time for a reason. Our task is not to “fix” the world but to proclaim the TRUTH. We are to be a witness against the “prophets of Baal” of our time. We are called just like Elijah to be-- as King Ahab said, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” We are the voice crying against the evil of our day. We are the light in a dark and evil world. There are many who are searching for the LIGHT. When searching souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it they find hope and evil is defeated. If you would help to calm the tumult caused by the evil of the day by shining your light into the darkness, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
As Christians there will be times when we are discouraged, disappointed, and despondent and feel we reached the bottom of the barrel of despair and all hope is gone and we want to find a cave and hide in it like Elijah. But I am resolved no longer to linger in the world of despair nor to sit a place at the table for hopelessness.
The reason is this: In my heart I know, as do you that there can be no despair over the evil that surrounds us when you remember why you were born for this time, who you serve, and who placed you here. We can take encouragement in the fact that the LORD has “…reserved. . . those whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” If we do what we are called to do, the LORD will take care of the evil that surrounds us.
Here are some lessons from the life of Elijah found in chapter 19 of 1 Kings . Understand the importance of “Go back the way you came.” Where were you in your spiritual life before you allowed “Jezebel” to put fear in your heart? How far have you run away from the place you first challenged evil? Get back to the place you were born to fulfill and “when you get there” prepare others for their place in the plan of God. And what is important is that we prepare “someone to succeed you.” Those we prepare will continue to fight evil with TRUTH because of the courage you have inspired in their hearts.