Scripture Reading: I Kings 18-19
“And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your alters, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’ The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your alters, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too. The Lord said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get theire, anoint Hazael King over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” I Kings 19: 9b-18
Elijah had lots of time to think as he walked alone to Mount Horeb. Forty long days to think about being alone, about all that happened on Mount Carmel, and the threat Queen Jezebel put on his life! He likely spent a great deal of time contemplating his meeting with the Lord; probably rehearsing what he would say.
Elijah seemed to forget what just happened on Mount Carmel. He saw the Lord consume the alter with fire. He saw many Israelites turn their hearts to the Lord on Mount Carmel in one day. He seemed to forget the amazing revival that occurred as people cried out “The Lord—he is God! (I Kings 18:39). He even heard Obadiah talk about the 100 prophets kept safely hidden in caves. Yet his mind was fixated on being alone, and he started to believe he was the only prophet of God left on earth.
We all have times in our lives where we perseverate (get stuck on a thought or idea) on things that are not true. These incorrect thoughts caused Elijah emotional distress, just as it does in our lives. Just like Elijah, we can cry out to the Lord with our misguided beliefs, and he will completely love us. He will also show us what is true.
Although Elijah’s thoughts mislead him, he eagerly shared his beliefs with the Lord. God did not rebuke him. He did not speak to Elijah through a destructive wind, earthquake or fire. Instead, he came in a gentle whisper. In a still small voice the Lord asked him again why he was there, giving Elijah another opportunity to cry out with his concerns and thoughts. Again Elijah shared with the Lord about being alone.
The Lord did not scold Elijah for forgetting so quickly what took place at Carmel. He did not tell Elijah to stop feeling sorry for himself, or stop dwelling on the negative. Instead, God lovingly gave Elijah a task and a purpose. The Lord exchanged his loneliness and despair with a plan that involved interaction and fellowship with others. And the Lord corrected his mistaken beliefs by telling him “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”
Are there thoughts that trouble you or bring you increased pain. Ask the Lord to show you his perspective. You may be feeling lonely, sad, depressed, or anxious. The physical pain may seem never-ending, it may even feel unbearable. You can pour your heart, thoughts, and beliefs out to the Lord. He will hear you. He will wrap his love around you and show you his truths. Allow the Lord to speak to you through his word and his gentle whisper.
We all have an inner dialogue, called self-talk, going on inside us throughout the day. Often times we speak to ourselves in negative and hurtful ways. I encourage you to notice your inner self-talk, and ask the Lord to cleanse you from those hurtful thoughts and a negative view of yourself. Ask the Lord to replace any destructive thoughts with his perspective and love. He loves you so much that he sings over you with delight and rejoicing. Allow him to turn your self-hate into self-love. Not a selfish, me-first kind of love, but a love that honors, appreciates, and is kind to your-self. A love that accepts and absorbs God’s incredible love for you.
Allow the Lord to take your life, your emotions, your thoughts, and mold them into his loving image. Here I am Lord, take me; take all of me. Cleanse me, heal me, mold me, use me.
Father God, I pour my heart out to you. You know all my anxious thoughts, my mistaken beliefs, and my misunderstandings. Father God, please forgive my self-destructive thinking, please cleanse my mind and give me your perspective. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” Lord. Please exchange my negativity for your love, my hurtful ways with your kind, gentle ways. Take my life Lord; my heart, my strength, and my mind. Make me, mold me, create me into the loving person you desire for me to be. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.