June 23

June 23

Ahab (Northern King 22 years) — Elijah’s depression, God’s compassion, the 7000, & Elisha.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: 1 Kings 19

Reading 2: Psalm 103:13-14

Reading 3: Romans 11:1-8

What do you do when ungodly opposition threatens you? Elijah ran for his life! And who could blame him? He has obediently resisted the most ungodly king in Israel’s history, and now the evil wife of that ungodly king has sworn to kill him or die herself! This is fanatical demonic deception of the kind displayed today by ISIS, Al Qaeda, and similar radical groups.

Elijah is experiencing depression and burnout. But God is with Elijah and cares for him even while he is running away! When Elijah reaches a place of safety, God meets him there. After Elijah’s history as the fire-calling prophet, you might expect God to speak in the fire, but He does not. We know that Elijah is later taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, but God does not speak today in the wind. God does not speak in the earthquake either, but in a small quiet voice: a gentle whisper.

And this is how God so often speaks to His children – in a gentle whisper. And although Elijah’s depression is caused by the opposition he faces, and leaves him feeling alone, God quietly reassures him that there are 7000 others who have remained faithful to God.

And when Elijah is listening, God gives him further instruction: to anoint Hazael king of Syria (Aram), Jehu king of Israel, and Elisha as his successor. For Elisha there was a cost to his obedience, but he willingly paid the price.

Even when things look hopeless, God is still at work in ways we cannot see. It is the same with God’s chosen people today – the Jews seem to be hostile to the gospel and to be seeking salvation by their observance of the Law, but God says He has chosen some to be His own – to follow their true Messiah Jesus. And it seems the same is true for Islam – even though militant Islam is virulently anti-Christian there are many former Muslims all over the world who have turned to Jesus!

As the Psalmist tells us, God is a loving Father who acts tenderly and compassionately toward us. Who do you know who needs to know that today?

Have a great day!

Mark.