I've been meaning to update this blog since my last post on January 1st. However, it seemed like every time I sat down to write something somewhat meaningful, I couldn't find the words. The other day, I even began a post about something inspiring I had read; but the words just didn't want to flow. Hopefully, today's post will come without difficulty, and sound somewhat decent.
Monday nights I have Bible study. I joined this group a couple of months ago, and I must say that I do enjoy going; the people in attendance are awesome. At some point in December, we began a study on Elijah but had to stop after a couple of weeks due to the Christmas season. This past Monday was our second meeting since we started back up after Christmas/New Years, so we continued discussing Elijah.
We focused on 1 Kings 19 this week. Pastor J is in my Bible study group, and is leading this discussion. He began by asking us to recall what James 5:16 said (...The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.), and then asked someone to read verse 17: "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months."
The focus (in our study that is) of James 5:17 was placed on the first part: Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. It seems difficult to imagine Elijah being like us! Afterall, in 1 Kings 18 we read that Elijah called down fire from heaven during the competition with the prophets of Baal. Have we ever done an act such as this? More than likely, not. So, how then was Elijah like us?
In 1 Kings 19, we read that Jezebel sent an oath to Elijah stating that she was giving him one day and then she was going to kill him, just as he had killed her prophets. Elijah became afraid and fled quite a distance away, and came to rest under a Juniper tree (some versions say a broom tree) where an angel visited him and gave him food and water, and told him to rest. From there Elijah journied up Mount Horeb (Mount Sinai) were God visited him and asked him what he was doing there.
Elijah told God that he had been zealous for Him, and after all he (Elijah) had done, his life was in danger - that he was going to be killed. God then told him to go and stand on the mountain while He passed by. There was a great and strong wind, strong enough to cause the rocks to break off; there was an earthquake, and then a fire. The Lord was in none of these. After the fire, there was a gentle blowing. It was when Elijah heard the gentle blowing that he covered his face and went to the entrance of the cave he had been in.
God asked Elijah a second time what he was doing there. Elijah repeated what he had said to God the first time. It was then that God gave a set of instructions for Elijah, which he then set out to follow.
Pastor J asked us why God had asked Elijah the same question twice. One of the ladies replied that Elijah got the answer wrong the first time (and ultimately the second as well since it was the same answer). Pastor J agreed with this and said that far too often, we tend to put the focus on us (I did this or that for the Lord, God bless me, Lord give me that, etc.) and we don't put our focus on what God might have in store for us.
So, back to the statement of Elijah being just like us...there are times when we take our eyes off the Lord, there are times we put the focus on ourselves, we get afraid, and we run and hide like Elijah did. When Elijah got the message that Jezebel was going to kill him, Elijah took his eyes off the Lord and focused on himself. His reply to God's question of "What are you doing here?" was to answer with a selfish reply, making the answer about him (Elijah). However, Pastor J stated that when we make the answer about us, God reminds us that it's not - it's about Him. And that's what God was doing with Elijah - reminding him that it's not all about him (Elijah).
In my own walk, I find I am doing this very same thing a great deal lately. I am putting the focus on me, worrying about my job (not getting much work), my personal life, my dreams and desires. I'm not making it about God, but about me. I need to listen for the gentle blowing, for God's voice, and find out what He wants. Afterall, it is all about Him.
How do you make it about God and not about yourself? What are some things you do or don't do to put the focus on God and take it off yourself?