God’s man storms onto the stage
1Kings 17: Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead, confronted Ahab.
To say that Elijah “appeared” is a great understatement. This spiritual giant storms onto the stage. The dreary story of one failure after another by the kings of Israel has given us a feeling of gathering darkness. Now, for the first time since Samuel’s day we meet a powerful prophet of God. Elijah, God’s man, will change the dreary status quo. We have no record of his ancestry and his home town is nearly as obscure. King Ahab is feeling pretty secure in his sin when this unknown man appears to confront him with his spiritual failure. God’s going to move directly into what Ahab believes is Baal’s territory. No more rain until Elijah, in the Name of the Lord, permits it. From this first public move and for the rest of his life, all eyes of Israel are going to be on Elijah. Then beyond his life he’ll challenge and inspire generations. This is God at work, moving when it seems all is lost. I pray that God will raise up some “Elijahs” for our day too.
Take Away: There are times when the Lord moves in unmistakable, powerful ways. Let’s pray we will see such a move in our society, today.
God, patiently working
2 Samuel 4: And so they anointed David king over Israel.
It’s been a long time coming. David remembers being called in from the fields as he cared for his father’s sheep to meet the old man of God, Samuel. In a private ceremony Samuel anointed him king of Israel. However, Israel already had a king and Saul wasn’t about to give up his position of power, so David waited. He faithfully served Israel, doing anything asked of him. He honored Saul, even as Saul became his enemy. It isn’t that David’s made no errors along the way; he has. The bottom line, though, is that he’s faithfully adhered to this philosophy: if God had him anointed as king, then he’ll be king in God’s own time. Now, the result of treachery in Ish-Bosheth’s camp, the door is finally open and all Israel comes to make David king. The deaths of both Saul and Ish-Bosheth were not by David’s hand. In fact, it isn’t the way he wanted it at all. Still, God works in all things, even things he doesn’t design, to accomplish his purpose. David isn’t the only one who’s been patient. God, Himself, has worked in and through and even around the events that have taken place to move history in the direction he desires. The end result is that, just as Samuel said years earlier: David is king of Israel. Here’s a picture of how God works: not orchestrating and micromanaging events to get his way, but directing the outcome of even bad things, like murder, to accomplish his purposes. He doesn’t motivate the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite to kill Ish-Bosheth, but when they do, the Lord uses it to accomplish his purpose of bringing David to the throne of Israel.
Take Away: As Sovereign God the Lord works in this world, even though poor choices made by people, to accomplish his purposes.