Monday, July 22, 2013

The Journey is Too Great for You

Today is day one of our 29th week, reading the Bible together in a year.  Our scriptures this week are:

  •  1 Kin 19-21; 2 Chr 17; Matt 1; Ps 129
  • 􀂁1 Kings 22; 2 Chr 18; Matt 2
  • 􀂁2 Chr 19-20; 2 Kings 1; Matt 3; Psalm 20
  • 􀂁2 Kings 2-3; Matt 4; Psalm 48
  • 􀂁2 Kings 4-6; Matt 5 

Some time ago, I attended a conference for pastors.  The speaker used 1 Kings 19:1-8 as his text for a message that would encourage discouraged ministers.  That scripture says:

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

Everybody gets discouraged.  This great scripture tells us that help is available to those servants of God who are in need.

Elijah had a great ministry.  It was marked by victories over hundreds of pagan priests, numerous miracles, and frequent words from God Himself.  However, the prophet could be prone to bouts of depression and fear.  It's encouraging to know that even someone with as successful a ministry as Elijah could go through times of discouragement.

In this story, Elijah has had a major victory, but immediately afterward he receives a death threat from evil Queen Jezebel.  He who had defeated hundreds is now afraid of the queen's threat, and flees for his life.  Depressed and exhausted, Elijah collapses beneath a broom tree in the wilderness and begs for death.

But miraculously, God sustains him.  An angel provides the sustenance he needs to be revived, and then gives him time to catch up on his sleep.  The angel refreshes him again, saying, "Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you."  And on the energy provided by that miraculous sleep and wondrous food (not to mention the touch of an angel), Elijah has the strength to journey forty days and nights to Horeb, where he will hear from God.

How often we could say to our Lord, "The journey is too great for me!"  He wouldn't be surprised to hear it, because He already knows it to be true.  That's why He provides the supernatural strength you need in tough times, to do the things you couldn't do in your own power.  "Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts (Zech 4:6 ESV)."  

During those times when the journey is too great for you, I hope that you'll take the time to rest, eat, drink, and let God provide the supernatural touch that you need to recuperate.  He knows it's too much for you--and He's already providing everything you need to continue to the place where you can hear His voice.

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