This Experience Must Come
From: My Utmost for His Highest
It is not wrong for you to depend on your “Elijah” for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay. Even the thought of that causes you to say, “I cannot continue without my ’Elijah.’ ” Yet God says you must continue.
Alone at Your “Jordan” (2 Kings 2:14). The Jordan River represents the type of separation where you have no fellowship with anyone else, and where no one else can take your responsibility from you. You now have to put to the test what you learned when you were with your “Elijah.” You have been to the Jordan over and over again with Elijah, but now you are facing it alone. There is no use in saying that you cannot go— the experience is here, and you must go. If you truly want to know whether or not God is the God your faith believes Him to be, then go through your “Jordan” alone.
Alone at Your “Jericho” (2 Kings 2:15). Jericho represents the place where you have seen your “Elijah” do great things. Yet when you come alone to your “Jericho,” you have a strong reluctance to take the initiative and trust in God, wanting, instead, for someone else to take it for you. But if you remain true to what you learned while with your “Elijah,” you will receive a sign, as Elisha did, that God is with you.
Alone at Your “Bethel” (2 Kings 2:23). At your “Bethel” you will find yourself at your wits’ end but at the beginning of God’s wisdom. When you come to your wits’ end and feel inclined to panic— don’t! Stand true to God and He will bring out His truth in a way that will make your life an expression of worship. Put into practice what you learned while with your “Elijah”— use his mantle and pray (see 2 Kings 2:13-14). Make a determination to trust in God, and do not even look for Elijah anymore.
Streams in the Desert
The Fig Tree
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
Observe, I entreat you, how calamitous a circumstance is here supposed, and how heroic a faith is expressed. It is really as if he said, “Though I should be reduced to so great extremity as not to know where to find my necessary food, though I should look around about me on an empty house and a desolate field, and see the marks of the Divine scourge where I had once seen the fruits of God’s bounty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
Methinks these words are worthy of being written as with a diamond on a rock forever. Oh, that by Divine grace they might be deeply engraven on each of our hearts! Concise as the form of speaking in the text is, it evidently implies or expresses the following particulars: That in the day of his distress he would fly to God; that he would maintain a holy composure of spirit under this dark dispensation, nay, that in the midst of all he would indulge in a sacred joy in God, and a cheerful expectation from Him.
Heroic confidence! Illustrious faith! Unconquerable love!
Last night I heard a robin singing in the rain,
And the raindrop’s patter made a sweet refrain,
Making all the sweeter the music of the strain.
So, I thought, when trouble comes, as trouble will,
Why should I stop singing? Just beyond the hill
It may be that sunshine floods the green world still.
He who faces the trouble with a heart of cheer
Makes the burden lighter. If there falls a tear,
Sweeter is the cadence in the song we hear.
I have learned your lesson, bird with dappled wing,
Listening to your music with its lilt of spring
When the storm-cloud darkens, then’s the TIME to sing.
–Eben E. Rexford
Jehoshaphat Inquired of The Lord
From: Through the Bible
2 Chronicles 20:2-4 (NIV) 2Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 3Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
In spite of Jehoshaphat’s lack of discernment, he knew what to do in time of trouble. This is a model chapter in how to face difficulty in our lives. Instead of running to his generals, he ran to the LORD. He resolved to inquire of the LORD. When we are alarmed, we will run to where our trust is placed. He proclaimed a fast. The people of the nation came together to seek God. From every town they came to seek Him.
We need to learn a lesson from this. We often put our heads together to come up with a solution. We are great at running to friends to ask for advice, like Rehoboam did. We even grab a book like, “How to Deal with Troubled Teens”. What we need to do is be resolved to inquire of the LORD. When we do, those under our influence will also. Jehoshaphat’s good example led the nation down the only path that would save them. Believe it or not, America has had a nationally declared day of prayer and fasting in its history, too.
Once they decided they would wait upon God, He spoke to them! First, Jehoshaphat led them in a prayer in which he laid the situation before God. He declared that power belonged to God. He confessed their weakness and ignorance and that their eyes were upon God. Then they stood before the LORD with their wives and children and waited. What an example for us today! We need to learn to wait on the Lord. God spoke through Jahaziel. God said the battle was His, and He gave them their marching orders.
Prayer: Lord God, help us to learn to turn to You first, recognize our need, and wait until we get Your answer.
Romans 6:11-13 (NIV) 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
When our Lord Jesus Christ died upon the cross, He died for sin once and for all. His resurrected life did not carry the sin that was laid on him. That sin was dealt with in His death. The Apostle is telling us to identify with Jesus’ death. If our sins were dealt with there in His death, we are raised with Him to new life. This new life does not carry the sin that the old life bore. Instead, it carries the life of God in Christ Jesus. We were once alive to sin, mastered and manipulated by it. Now we are alive to God.
The power that sin reigned over us has been dealt with. We do not have to let it rule us any longer. Now we are free to offer our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. Before the cross came into our life, we could have offered our bodies to righteousness, but we did not have the power to break the control of sin. Now that it is broken, we must offer ourselves to our new Master. Sin controlled us to bring death. Jesus masters us to bring life.
Once we offered our mouths for vile speech, our ears to hear gossip, our eyes to lust, and our mind to self-seeking. Now we can offer our mouths for instruments of praise and proclamation of the truth. We can offer our ears to the Spirit to hear His direction. We offer our minds to dwell upon the beauty of the Lord, His marvelous attributes. Have you taken the time to consciously go before the Lord in prayer and dedicate the parts of your body as instruments of righteousness? I would encourage you to do it now. As you do, the Spirit of God may remind you of His grief over the use of some of your members that should be given to life and not to death. Dedicate them to Him alone right now. He went to the cross and conquered death that you might do so.
Prayer: Lord, use my body for Your glory. Keep my thoughts pure and holy. Use my arms to serve the needy, my feet to take me where You send me, my ears to hear your Word, my eyes to see the need around me, and my mouth to tell others of Your love.