Through the 40 days of Lent we’ve been connecting to God’s story by looking at where 40 days shows up in Scripture. Forty days shows up in God’s story again just after God demonstrated his supremacy over Baal by sending fire from heaven to consume Elijah’s sacrifice and answering Elijah’s prayer to end the 3 year drought. Then God sends Elijah on a 40 day journey to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-19).
I’m sure the last thing Elijah wanted to do after all the adrenaline and stress of his showdown with Baal was to take a 40 day hike. I can think of times when I felt like I’ve given all I have to give and God asks me for something more. The last 10 days have felt a bit like that! I’m sure you can relate. Sometimes God asks us to do hard things. But the Lord provides what Elijah needs to accomplish what he asks. Twice, the Lord sends an angel to feed Elijah so he has the necessary energy for the journey (v.5b-8). How is the Lord providing for your journey right now?
The Lord also shows up personally. On Mt. Carmel he showed up in a spectacular fire that consumed Elijah’s sacrifice. At Mt. Horeb, he shows up in a gentle whisper (v.12). The Lord doesn’t always show up the way he showed up last time or in the way we expect him to. But he has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He will show up. How is the Lord showing up in your life?
Elijah believed he was all alone (v.14). The Lord reminds Elijah that there 7000 people in Israel who remain faithful to the Lord (v.18). In these days of ‘social distancing,’ it’s easy to feel isolated. We need this reminder: you are not alone. This is why we continue to gather on Sundays in on-line services and connect in on-line small groups. How are you connecting to community right now? Is there someone the Lord is placing on your heart? Reach out to them today.
Elijah also believed his ministry was futile (v.14). God tells Elijah to anoint his successor, indicating that God’s work will continue even beyond Elijah’s lifetime. Sometimes I find it hard to see beyond the immediate crisis. This story reminds me that COVID-19 didn’t take God by surprise and it will not prevent God from doing his work. Lent ends in Resurrection – not even death can prevent God from fulfilling his plan. God is not done. His work continues.