1 Kings 19
Once upon a time, there was a man who was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.
Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man's mind such as: "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it." Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.
These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough." And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.
"Lord," he said, "I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?" To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My child, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.
And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my child, will now move the rock."
Have you ever felt like the task in front of you seems impossible? I’m sure Elijah felt that way when Jezebel made the threat to kill him. Elijah had come to a point where he believed he was the only one left serving God. Have you ever felt completely alone in your marriage, walk with Christ, or ministry? Can you relate to Elijah’s complaints? At the end of the chapter, God reminds Elijah that he doesn’t see the whole picture. He has so much falling into place that will serve as an encouragement to Elijah and disprove his theory that there are none left who serve the Lord. The disadvantage of being human is that we don't always get to see the big picture. So how do we base our lives on things we know to be true when we don't know what that truth is?
In the book of 1 Samuel, after Israel claimed victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel raised up a stone which he named Ebenezer (Rock of Help) to commemorate God’s faithfulness to the Israelites. In Christian tradition, an Ebenezer has come to be known as any moment where God undoubtedly showed up in a situation that seemed overwhelming and hopeless. What is interesting about 1 Kings 19 is the fact that it follows 1 Kings 18. 1 Kings 18 should have been one of Elijah’s Ebenezers as God gave him victory over the 400 prophets of Baal in an incredible way. When this chapter is brought in the picture, Elijiah’s fear of Jezebel seems silly. If God could take care of a corrupt King and 400 false prophets, could he not take care of one woman? How often is our fear just as silly? Not to make light of anybody’s trials, but if we live life based on the faithfulness of our Lord, who can stand against us? What are your Ebenezers? Is there a time you can look back and recognize God’s faithfulness in your life? How do you remember your Ebenezers? Journal? Good memory? Tattoos?
God proves his faithfulness again to Elijah when he outlines his plan in verses 15-18. How encouraging that must have been for Elijah. Are you paying attention to the encouragement The Lord is sending your way or are you just missing them because you're too focused on what you can see? I have felt like Elijah many times in my own life. I always seem to have my mind set on things that seem hopeless, and instead of building Ebenezers, I construct a deeper mindset of hopelessness. But God has never failed in his faithfulness! How different would life be if we began now giving full attention to the incredible and overwhelming faithfulness of God.