Sunday, May 19, 2013

hunker down.

Wow, have I been learning a ton lately about the character of the Lord. Gut check rather. However, He is good. He is faithful. Always. He does not delay. He always comes through and YES regardless of whether we can or cannot see. And YES whether we can see Him moving or not. 

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." [Hebrews 11:1]

However, we know that deep roots come with trials. Come with lots of gut checks. And "because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." [James 1:3]. Which way are you going to go? Are you going to stand in the way of faith? or Are you going to give up and leave what you know because it is not looking like He is coming through or maybe for that matter doing anything? A lot of us could probably be able to stand before the trial and of course pick standing in the way of faith, but it's in the wind and the waves were this becomes so crucial, co critical, on which everything hinges. 

As of lately I have been sticking around 1st and 2nd Kings. These books are so rich; it's packed full. In 1 Kings 18, there is a story that comes to my mind often here lately. Let me kind of hash out what's going on here. The people of Israel had began to worship other gods other than the Most High God. They were praying to the god Baal. However, there was severe famine in the land and they were praying to both God and Baal for the famine to lift and rain to come, going back and forth (being half-hearted). 

 The word of the Lord came to Elijah the prophet saying, "go show yourself to Ahab (the kind of Israel) and I will bring the rain upon the earth. Elijah went to Ahab stating he had abandoned the commandments of the Lord and told him (in a summary) we will test your god against mine. Elijah said to the people, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? if the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.' (v.21) Oh goodness the significance of this statement is great. When we find ourselves in the middle of just going with faith and then second guessing in our flesh. It can be so weakening. We start limping. We are not strong either way. This is what Elijah was trying to convey to the people of Israel. Elijah challenges the people of Israel to make a decision, but they did not say a word. Then Elijah says okay lets prepare a sacrifice and the let you call on your god and I will call upon the name of the Lord and whichever one answers by fire, he is God. the people agreed. They cried to Baal and nothing happened and Elijah cried out to the Lord and the sacrifice was consumed by the Lord by fire. (something interesting I thought that was as they prepared the sacrifice before they were about to cry out to the Lord after nothing from Baal, Elijah had them fill 4 waterpots with water to pour on the sacrifice to show he was requiring more of the Lord than from Baal. He was confident that not only would the Lord consume the dry sacrifice with fire but they he could consume and wet sacrifice with water - trying to make a deep impression on the people that the Lord is mighty. So neat.)

... After the Lord showed Himself, Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up , eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain." (v. 41). He knew what the Lord had said, he knew He would send the rain like He promised. He knew not because he was confident in his knowing, but confident in the one that he KNEW. He knew the fulfillment of the drought (hard time) was over. Elijah then went up to the top of Mount Carmel and he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees." (v.42)... Okay, so he sent Ahab about his business and then Elijah got to his business and put himself in a posture of praying. I find it so interesting the posture Elijah is in because he is not standing, kneeling or sitting but rather in a position that in that day was for child bearing. Women would sit in that position to have babies. It is so cool because it signifies Elijah was birthing something, he knew something was to come out of this. He believed it. He HUNKERED DOWN in prayer. So Elijah says to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea (to see if the rain was coming). And he went up and looked and said 'There is nothing.' And he [Elijah] said, 'Go again.' seven times. Seven times he sent his servant back. However, that means that six times he was heard nothing, saw nothing. Right here in this little moment is where so many people can identify. With disappointment, feeling forgotten, not understanding what the Lord is doing and maybe doubting whether or not He will come through. However, the seventh time after sending the servant, he [servant] said, 'Behold, a little cloud like a man's hand is rising from the sea." OKAY... this is incredible interesting and neat to me. Elijah KNEW the Lord had promised rain and was going to send rain. The persistency and fervency of the prayer of Elijah here, it's obvious He knows what the Lord said will NOT take no for an answer. He stays hunkered down in prayer until he sees the promise of the Lord come to pass. 

When Elijah hears word of the "small" sign of rain, he says to his servant, "Go up, say to Ahab 'Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.' And in a little while the heavens grew back with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain." (v. 45) .... I think it is amazing that after the sight of only a small cloud the side of a man's hand rising Elijah knew the torrential downpour was coming and told Ahab. He was so confident. He was bold. I don't know if I with just seeing one tiny cloud would be as bold to say oh YES the rain is coming I am confident of this. I wonder how many times I question the little clouds asking for the Lord to show me more, or maybe wait around longer to make sure I see other clouds. Elijah's faith is so honorable.

Charles Spurgeon used this text when he was describing "certain signs and tokens for good, which prayerful faith clearly perceives when an awakening, a genuine revival is about to come." He goes on to say that we should make note of the little clouds in our lives to not take them likely. 

How many times have I missed little clouds? We so often see HUGE movements and so often take the little clouds for granted that lead up to these moments to those things. It's those moments of hunkering down in prayer and rooting in & trusting the promise of the Lord to come to pass before the rain comes  - those make a person. It weaves something beautiful in a person. 

The Lord is FAITHFUL. That is who He is. He doesn't have to prove Himself faithful because that's just who He is. You cannot add or take away from Him. But He chooses to reveal and show Himself to us because of His great. So do not lose heart because He WILL COME THROUGH. He always does. Keep pressing in and keep trusting Him. He is for you. He hasn't forgotten or looked away from you for one second. 

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