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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Believing Jezebel

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Believing Jezebel

1 Kings 19:1-3 (ESV) 
 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”
 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 

Elijah was a great prophet. He had seen God do miracles. He had believed God and confronted Ahab. He had the prophets of Baal killed. He prayed and the sky withheld its rain. He prayed again and it rained like crazy.

Yet, when Jezebel threatens him through a messenger, he runs for his life, becomes depressed and prays for death. I know how he felt. I, too, have acted as if the forces against me are greater than those with me, become depressed and prayed for death. It is so easy to believe the conventional wisdom and ignore the spiritual.

We see God so clearly in the victories. He arrived to do a miracle and provide what was needed. He healed someone we were praying for. He gave us a task which seemed impossible and we did it with His strength. We praise Him and know He is right there with us.

But then bad things begin to happen. People go without even though we have prayed for them. Someone dies whom we have put at the top of our prayer lists. The simplest of tasks can't be done. Failure, not victory, seems to be our future.

We call ourselves believers in God but fall into the belief that God is not there. We cry out and He does not answer. We prostrate ourselves before Him and receive silence. The silence makes us forget all the times He has spoken to us. We forget the worship services in which He called us to His service. We forget the times we prayed and He answered. We become like anyone who doesn't know the Lord. And we run.

We believe more in the fear of the future than the God who is already in that future. And why? Because of the present circumstances. We believe that what we are experiencing now predicts our future.

Does defeat predict the future of those who love God? Our flesh tells us that it does. That is why we cannot allow the flesh to rule. It is the spirit which God has placed within us who must dig deep into our faith and reinforce our faith. The Spirit speaks to our spirits to reject the threats of Jezebel.

Does that mean that victory comes instantly? No. The time of distress may still seem like an eternity. So, each day must be focused on living in the Spirit. The Spirit continues to tell us that no matter what things look like, God is still in control.

Isn't that what scared Elijah? Jezebel made him think that God was no longer in control. I don't know about you but that is at the root of my fears. My flesh does not believe that God is in control when bad things begin to happen.

But my spirit knows better.


Anthony Chia said...

How about this? Be overcome to overcome.

Perhaps, Elijah was more than a few shades below Jesus, yet there is still a measure of that "be overcome to overcome".

What is this "be overcome to overcome"?

A "shock treatment" or "shock prescription". An unconventional approach, against the grain of logic of the world. Don't we see that, a lot in the teachings of Jesus.

Here are some examples:

If your enemy slaps you one cheek, turn the other to him!
If your enemy takes your coat, turn over your inner garment,too!
God uses the foolish and humble to confound the wise.
To die is to live.

The last one, Jesus performed that. Be overcome to overcome. Jesus did not run away, but let himself be taken away to be tortured, to be humiliated, and finally to be condemned and died crucified. He allowed Himself to be overcome to overcome. Isn't this what the unbelieving Jews missed out. They could not imagine nor accept their Messiah had come and gone in that way, be overcame; they had expected Him to have come and reigned as a mighty king over all others.

My daughter used to think and so she approached Jews thinking they were Christians or believers, but she was surprised by the reactions; and she eventually asked me about it. Yah, many of the Orthodox Jews are not believers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. See the irony of us going to Israel and go gaga over all the places Jesus had stepped foot upon, and some unbelieving Jews were musing with "silly pagan tourists believe the Messiah had already come".

Well back to the issue; Elijah ran away, Jesus did not. Jesus allowed Himself to be overcome to overcome, and became our Overcomer. Elijah ran away, but he did not allow himself to be caught and be "shredded" to death by Jezebel. I use my imagination with the words of Jezebel, and think maybe, she would inflict a cut on Elijah for every cut he inflicted (or caused to be inflicted) on each of the few hundred pagan prophets who were killed!

By conventional thinking, Elijah was a "chicken" - he ran away! Well, by conventional thinking, Jesus, though not exactly looked upon as a "chicken", but still, He was considered a weakling or a stupid chap, by many.

In my country, it is "dangerous to preach to Muslims", and the law can get to you, and I have a blog email notification which I sent out to people to invite people to come to read my writings on my blog and in it I included as a PS that said I did not invite Muslims, if it was illegal in your country, for me to do so, and any such persons must treat my email as misdirected.

You see my email could get forwarded all over the places, to all kinds of people. My blog could be shut down, and I could be picked up by the police, in own country. Some may balk at reading such an exclusion being included, but to me, it is "doing according to the measure of faith I have". I am prepared to "enlighten and teach" for The Lord on the internet, and I did not think it is yet for me to be hauled to the police station or to have the blog shut-down on me, before I could accomplish what I believe I was tasked by The Lord to do. Call me chicken, if people want to, I just ignore it, because for this case, I believe it is a case of "I don't go into a lion's den when I have no clearance from The Lord."


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

To run is NOT always wrong. In Scripture, we are exhorted to FLEE from sexual temptations, for example. The Lord knows best.

There is a saying, in Chinese, that goes like this: "Be smart, but not over smart". We have to know that the great thing that we ever accomplish, we accomplish them with God backing us up.

For Elijah, he ran; to be caught by Jezebel and be publicly shredded would not be "be overcome to overcome". Running away was his "be overcome, to overcome".

Well, perhaps, God would come and shred Jezebel before she could shred Elijah. But that is perhaps! Perhaps, God won't! At the end of the day, it is between the man and his God. Do you know that Elijah prophesied how Jezebel was to die, later on?!

It is not as simple as many put it, concerning Elijah being a "chicken". If we really want to be simple about it, it is this: "If my King want me dead, I be dead (I will die), but otherwise, I stay alive for my life is not mine, but my King's." Of course, separately, Scripture teaches us what we must stand up, for.

To pit against the Baal prophets on Mount Carmel was a standing up for God, which Elijah did. God vindicated. But Elijah did not think it was the same thing with a personal threat to his life or well-being, especially coming immediately after a huge standing up for God. Perhaps, it was wise even for Elijah to have not taken it for granted that God would come against Jezebel in that hour (Jezebel actually, later on, did die a terrible death - got thrown out of a high window by her own, and the flesh of her corpse eaten up by stray dogs; but that was later, and it was as prophesied by himself, Elijah, later on!).

I put it to us, that perhaps, Elijah did inquire of The Lord, when he heard from the messenger of Jezebel. Perhaps, God did not answer him to face Jezebel. Perhaps, then, he was afraid! 1 Kings 19:3 did say, "Then he was afraid"; it is possible, the "then" is after hearing the message and inquiring of God.

I believe God deals with us in stages and seasons, and so there are the "necessary pauses", for a number of reasons, and one of them, is so that we learn NOT to get ahead of God. There are various angles to this one reason alone, and it could be looked at even as, we are to learn not to treat God as our genie in the bottle at our peck and call. Or simply, we are to learn that we have NOT become God!

I am NOT advocating fear but uncertainty does scare the hell out of people. Do you think God does not know that? Does He not want you to be courageous? Of course, He does. But there are also many important things He wants you and I to learn, including the one reason I referred to, in the preceding para. If I were God, I would say, "If it does NOT hold me as unholy, and I have unfinished business for you, I rather you run, and fight another day."

This series of events from the mighty victory on Mount Carmel and the immediately following flight of Elijah, was God's letting us know He knows the struggles of those who are "for Him". Mind you, Elijah came with Moses to Jesus on Jesus' transfiguration. Both Elijah and Moses were men, "for God", and eventually honored by God, yet both had a "jab" by a God recorded in Scripture. Do you know what was Moses' jab?

Anthony Chia, high.expressions