Chair: The Call to Contemplation

I can flip a switch, but I don’t provide the electricity. I can turn on a faucet, but I don’t make the water flow. There will be no light and no liquid refreshment without someone else providing it. And so it is for the Christian with the ongoing grace of God. His grace is essential for our spiritual lives, but we don’t control the supply. We can’t make the favor of God flow, but he has given us circuits to connect and pipes to open expectantly. There are paths along which he has promised his favor.

– David Mathis, Habits of Grace

 

Today’s Text: 1 Kings 19:1-18

Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “May the gods punish me and do so severely if I don’t make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow! ”

3 Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, 4 but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 He entered a cave there and spent the night.

Suddenly, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah? ” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.” 11 Then he said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.” At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah? ” 14 “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies,” he replied, “but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you are to anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. 18 But I will leave seven thousand in Israel ​— ​every knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”  (CSB)


The PICTURE of Despair

fear

Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. (v. 3)

abandons his calling

When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, (v. 3)

prays for death

He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. (v. 4)

depression

He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. (v. 4-5)

hero & martyr

“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.” (v. 10)

REASONS

Adrenaline Crash

Fatigue

Isolation

Spiritual Opposition

Unmet Expectations

Guilt

Pride

WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

MESSIAH COMPLEX

You were never meant to repent because you can’t fix everything. You are meant to repent because you’ve tried. Even if we could be god for people and fix it all, the fact remains that Jesus often does not have the kind of fixing in mind that you and I want.

– Zack Eswine, The Imperfect Pastor


The PROVISION

Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. (v. 5-6)

Remember the Past – v. 8

Re-frame the Future – v. 15-18

Rest in the Present – v. 11-13

Are you listening for the still, small voice?

MATTHEW 11:28-30

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


The Practices

Resist AND Embrace

The moment  you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job of each morning consists in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. 

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

GET A PLAN

Scripture before screens

What are you staring at?

…the way we guide our formation is not by looking in and choosing our favorite identity; it is actually by looking out. We become what or who we reflect, which is to say we become what we pay attention to. We can’t become ourselves by ourselves. The way we discover ourselves is by staring at someone else.  

– Justin Earley, The Common Rule

JOHN 8:31-32

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

He Reads Truth 

 She Reads Truth


HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Repent.

Remember.

Rejoice.

A Prayer for Salvation

“Heavenly Father, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through your Son Jesus I can be more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you that he lived the life I should have lived and paid the debt and punishment I owed. Receive me now for his sake. I turn from my sins and receive him as Savior. Amen.”

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