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The Lord has been stirring in my heart quite a bit lately. I have a renewed passion to draw closer to God. In my recent study of 1 Kings 16:29–17:1, I found some practical ways you and I can walk closer with the Lord.
Where do you find the courage to go down the narrow road in the midst of a broad path of worldliness? How do you draw closer to God?
Follow down these four steps with me.
- Stand in the presence of God.
I encourage you to be that person today. How do you stand before the Lord? Picture the palace as Elijah walks up to Ahab. Around the palace, servants were waiting. They were waiting to do whatever the king commanded. There was a waiter, standing there by another door. He was ready to serve food and drink whenever Ahab would beckon him with a single finger. All around the room, the king’s servants were present, and they were ready to respond in a moment’s notice.
Elijah walks into the throne room, and there are all of these folks standing around the throne, before King Ahab, and Elijah communicates that he stands before the Lord.
Standing before the Lord indicates that you are ready and available and responsive to whatever God commands you to do. Surrounded by the darkness, as all of us are, we need women and men who are in that place—standing before the Lord.
- Believe the Word of God.
You may think, “What can a man like Elijah do? What can I do?” Stand before the Lord and be ready and available to Him, and then believe His Word.
Elijah did not have the Bible, as we have it today. What he would have had would’ve been the five books of Moses, together, with Joshua, Judges, and the books of Samuel. That’s about a quarter of the Bible that we have today.
He had access to the truth of the first parts of the Bible, and within that, He would’ve found this promise in Deuteronomy 11:16–17a, 16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce,
Elijah would’ve had access to this. When God’s people turn to other gods, God takes away the rain. Ahab led state-sponsored Baalism, complete with temples, and the whole nine yards. This led Elijah to pray.
Ahab and his kingdom had no respect of the Word of God. This greatly concerned Elijah. America has no respect for the Word of God. This should greatly concern you. It concerns me.
- Stand up for the truth of God no matter what it costs.
James 5:17 says, Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
Elijah not only said that it would not rain, but he prayed that it be the case. If there is no rain for three and one half years, cattle die. People die. Three and one half years of famine ruins an economy. This man prayed for his own country to see a revival of God’s Spirit no matter what.
Elijah personally shared in the suffering. However, he prayed that it would happen nonetheless. Why? This is a man that cares more about God’s glory than his own comfort. Can that be said of you? Strive to be a person who cares more about God’s glory than about your own comfort.
The economy was booming under Ahab’s leadership. Political stability was prescient under his reign. Elijah, however, was broken before God because of something much bigger than that—the glory of God. This is a man who cares more about the eternal destiny of people than he does about his physical wellbeing.
- Speak in the name of God.
1 Kings 17:1b says, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Speaking in the name of God gives you courage to stand before anyone, even the presence of a king. It is the engagement of worship and the submission of His Word today that will give you courage to face the darkness of the world in the coming days and weeks.
It was Elijah’s prayers in private that gave him power in public.
Ahab determined, through his actions, that religion was a branch of sociology to be manipulated by a politician at will. He determined belief in God was a mere expression of spirituality that could be leveraged for social purposes, but never seriously thought that a real God was alive and well. Here’s a man talking about God as if he would do something that actually makes a difference to peoples’ lives.
The story of Elijah makes me think about the Lord Jesus. Jesus, who said, in Matthew 17:13–14, 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
To all who will walk the narrow way of faith and obedience toward God, there is Good News for us: Jesus stands before the Father for us. He is the Word of God to us. He opens the seals to enact the will of God for us.
Elijah speaks a word of judgment so that people would seek mercy. Jesus speaks a word of mercy to people who deserve judgment. That’s the Gospel.
Thank God that we are not called to go out and somehow pray for judgment on this world, but instead we are to call people to repentance and offer the grace that is in our Lord Jesus Christ. In this darkening world, God is looking for people who will stand with Elijah on the narrow road.