Psalm 74; 1 Kings 18:17–40; Revelation 20:7–15
Being made a fool of for Christ is something that Christians have had to deal with through the ages. Whether it’s because of beliefs and practices that go against the norm, or the reality that Christians are just as fallen as the rest of humanity. There is, however, the question of making a fool of Christ by our actions. Bluntly, do you have the faith of Elijah?
Do you have the strength, resolve, and faith to believe that God will call down fires from Heaven to burn up an offering? You could quickly dissemble this question by saying, we don’t do sacrifices anymore. Except, that isn’t the point.
We say things such as, “lighting strike me…” or “…catch on fire…” (literally, not spiritually) when we say or do things against God. We don’t really believe it, though. If we did, then being more like Elijah would actually be possible.
However, we often mock people as Elijah did. Yes, there is a contextual part to Elijah’s mocking, but there often isn’t for us. We just try to make people beneath us by our responses.
Often we view ourselves as the ones that are suffering the wrath of Gog and Magog, when in fact we are the ones acting like it. We think we are like Elijah, when in fact we are the priests of Baal.
Just so we’re clear, I put myself in that same place. I recognize my own tendencies and failures. I recognize when I put on the clothes of righteousness, but behave in ways that are unrighteous.
We have two paths before us. We can be Elijah, or we can be those deceived (Gog and Magog) and/or destroyed.
Elijah did have a unique relationship with God, and a unique responsibility given to him by God. We cannot, theoretically, call down fires from Heaven. God does not seem to work that way anymore. This also doesn’t mean that God won’t. God does work in many ways far more mysterious and wonderful (think of the Holy Spirit).
Calling upon God for healing of people, hearts, and nations will change more than a few hearts for a short time (the Israelites, unsurprisingly, returned to their old ways). We are indeed to be this era’s Elijah. Instead of the fire of worship (which is really what Elijah called for), we are called to bring the fire of the Holy Spirit to first purify ourselves, then through the furnace of love, bring the fire of God into the lives of others…not to burn them.
- What other responses do you have to the story of Elijah? Where else do you see yourself in it?
- What are your thoughts regarding the fiery lake in Revelation? How does that fire contrast (if it does) to the fire of Elijah?
Lord, you have refined us through the fire of the Holy Spirit. Help us to carry that refinement into our lives and into the world. Amen.