I was reading about Elijah who was God's prophet to the northern kingdom, Israel. He came on to the scene during King Ahab's reign. One of the things that stood out to me was his immediate obedience. When God told Elijah to do something, no matter how uncomfortable or confusing, he did it. Elijah's story begins with him in the presence of King Ahab, telling the king there would be neither dew nor rain for the next few years except at his word. Can you imagine?
After telling the king there would be no rain, God sent him to the Kerith Ravine to hide.
The word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there." So he did what the LORD told him.
I would have been asking a hundred questions: How long do I have to stay there? What if I don't like what the ravens bring me to eat? What if I get lost? I think Elijah understood it was necessary for him to hide. That wasn't the issue. King Ahab was not the type of king that would accept this news readily. Maybe the questions came later, and at this point, he was happy to have the Lord lead him to a secret place that no one knew about. I'm also sure that he didn't wonder if he had thought this up on his own, which is what I often do when I believe the Lord is giving me direction. The point is, Elijah obeyed without question.
Sometime later the brook dried up because there was no rain. Again the word of the Lord came to him and told him to go to Zarephath.
"Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." So he went to Zarephath.
He didn't ask questions, he just went. I suppose he needed another place to go since he had no more water to drink, but I think I would have at least wanted to know how I would find the right widow. And what to do if she refused. And maybe he did ask these questions at some point, but not before he took off for Zarephath. Some amazing things happened while he was there, and that's where he stayed until the Lord told him to leave.
It was in the third year of the drought when the Lord again came to Elijah and told him to go to the king.
"Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
Was he scared? I would have been. I would have been asking the Lord why? And what was he supposed to say? Or do? If he did ask any of these questions, it was while he was on his way to see the king.
Are you seeing the pattern? God gave Elijah instructions and Elijah listened and obeyed. Each time it required stepping out in faith. He didn't just believe in his mind that God was faithful; he was willing to take the action God was asking.
When I think about delighting myself in the Lord, I know this is part of it. I can't just say I trust God; I have to actually trust Him by stepping out in faith when He tells me to do something. It doesn't matter if I am afraid, or confused, or don't have the answer to all my questions. Right now I know what God is asking me to do. And I have not been like Elijah. I've been more like Jonah, telling God I don't want to do this because I am afraid and I don't feel ready.
How about you? Has God been speaking to you about something? What has your response been? Are you stepping out in faith and obedience like Elijah or are you more like Jonah and me, telling God you don't want to do what He is asking. What if Elijah had said to God, "I don't want to hide out at a brook; it will be lonely and boring" or later when the brook had dried up if he had asked God to provide water miraculously so he didn't have to go to Zarephath? What if he had said, "I will go but don't make me find the widow...I need it to be easier." Somehow I can't picture Elijah saying any of these things. Suppose in his fear of seeing Ahab, he just stayed at Zarephath. What if he told God he wasn't ready. Wow! These are the things I have been saying and doing.
I am so grateful that God is patient and merciful. He gives you and I more chances than we deserve. He doesn't condemn us or punish us. He waits for me, and He waits for you. You don't have to feel ready, you don't have to feel bold, you don't even have to know how to do what God is asking. You simply need to step out.
I have a "Take Action" sheet that I filled out with a date in which to have it done. Now it's time to step out!