Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Bread and Whispers
At mid-life many of us find ourselves tempted to despair. Half our lives gone, more than half our strength spent. The work in which we have invested still bears but little fruit. The bright goals to which we press look farther away than ever. People disappoint. The young pastors who lead our churches have milk for the babes, but nothing for the mature except work. Both the generations before and after us need more and more from us. We are disappointed in ourselves.
Forget "mounting up like eagles". Forget "running and not being weary". We can barely "walk and not faint". Our refrain becomes, "vanity, vanity! All is vanity!" But though the saints grow weary and experience spiritual depressions, it is not to characterize us, nor to be a permanent condition.
Elijah at mid-life utterly defeated 850 prophets of Baal (I Kings 18), discredited their power before assembled Israel and encouraged Israel to execute God's judgement on them so that none escaped alive. Queen Jezebel issued a death warrant against Elijah in retaliation. And Elijah, that mighty one, slunk off to the wilderness, asking to die (I Kings 19:4).
But God revived him. With bread from heaven. And a "still, small voice" in the midst of a raging storm, an earthquake and a fire.
All of these are figures of God's Word.
Several of the prophets eat the scroll containing God's Word in their visions.
"I AM the bread of Life." (Jn 6:35)
Storm and earthquake
"The voice of the Lord is powerful...The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars....The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness...." (Ps 29)
"I will make my words in thy mouth a fire..." (Jer. 5:14)
But if you read the account in I Kings, you'll notice that for exhausted, depressed Elijah, God was not in the storm or the earthquake or the fire. The Word of God was to him nourishment and gentleness.
Are you exhausted? Depressed? Despairing even? Open your Bible.