In the last set of posts on God Encounters we looked at Jacob and his encounter with God. His encounter came out of fear – fear of an uncle who he thought wanted to kill him and fear of a brother who he thought wanted to kill him. Jacob ended up trying to manipulate his way out of everything but then God showed up. God showed up and wrestled with Jacob all night long. Jacob held on tightly to God. He would not let go and in that we see a picture of what we need to do. We need to hold on and in be in God’s presence and allow Him to change us from manipulators to ministers. Jacob had trouble on every side but God changed him. God changed his heart and God even changed his name. God encountered Jacob and Jacob held on till God made him let go by knocking his hip out of joint! Jacob gladly left that encounter with God with a limp that reminded Him of who God was and how great God was! God wants to do the very same for all of us.
This set of post we will look at the story of Elijah and look at his powerful encounter with God Almighty. Who was Elijah? Elijah was God’s unpredictable prophet; he never did what people expected. We can see in 1 Kings 18 that he faced over 400 priests of the false god Baal on top of Mt. Carmel. It was a showdown of power. The false priest prayed for fire from heaven, but nothing came. Then Elijah did the unexpected. He poured water over the wood and sacrifice — three times. Then Elijah knelt before the God of Israel to ask for fire to be poured out from heaven like water from a bucket. Elijah was vindicated when God sent fire from heaven. He immediately turned and pointed to the false prophets and yelled to the crowd, “KILL THEM!” But victory was short lived. When Queen Jezebel heard that Elijah had killed them, she sent a royal decree to Elijah by messenger, “I will kill you by this hour tomorrow!”That’s when Elijah ran away. He could stand against over 400 false prophets of Baal—he was bold—but this woman sent him running. He ran into the desert and told God he wanted to die. He fell asleep under a juniper tree and an angel awakened him and gave him food and water and he went back to sleep. The angel awakened him a second time and told him to eat and drink again because it was going to be difficult. Elijah gets up and goes to Mount Horeb when God asks him a question then has him stand on top of the mountain because He was going to pass by. Heavy winds came and God was not in the wind, an Earthquake came and God was not in it, fire came and God was not in that, and finally a gentle breeze came and that is where God was. God then sends Elijah back with a three fold task to do. God dealt with Elijah’s discouragement by putting him to work. (Click hereto read Biblical account of Elijah’s Encounter)
So what can we learn from this encounter that Elijah had from God? The first is this: God will encounter those who are running from Him. When Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah, he began running for his life, crossing through Israel, Judea and then venturing out into the desert. He ended up at Mount Sinai where God encountered him; sending him back into ministry. Why does God send him back to ministry? Because God does not want us running from battles but God wants us running to Him! The Christian life is not about running from people or circumstances but it is about running to God who will be the one who will lead us, guide us, and direct us in the ways we should go because God has plans for us to accomplish and if we are running away we will never be able to accomplish any of it! Running away does more harm than good.
Remember what God says to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:15 – “Go, return on your way“. God had other things for Elijah to be doing and other than sitting around and being discouraged. God has other things for you do – so do them!
Another thing to remember is this: God asks questions when He encounters us, not because He wants information, but to teach us something. God in the in Scriptures will ask questions like when God came to Adam asking, “Adam, where art thou?” God knew where he was – but God was showing Adam their relationship was broken. And then God asked Cain, “Why are you angry?” because he wanted Cain to see what evil was in his heart. When God encountered Elijah he asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God did not ask the question to get information, God knows all things. God wanted Elijah to face his motivations for running. Elijah had run away from the very people to whom God had called him to minister. God asked a question to make him honestly face his unbelief and wrong motives.
This brings to mind – God knows your motivations better than you do. God knows your motivations and I call on everyone today to say these verses as a prayer: Psalm 139:23,24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. Let me ask you- can you pray that and with good conscious say that there are not people that you need to make things right with? Are there people that you have hurt because of your heart motives were sinful? If you have hurt people with words or attitudes or actions – it is your job to make things right as soon as possible!
Have you ever had God ask you a question to teach to you something? What was it? Anything else you see here in what I mentioned you want to comment on – please do!