Sunday, September 17, 2017

Living in the Miraculous

As Christians, we serve a miracle-working Savior. I've always believed miracles ought to be common occurrences for us, but are they?

I have a notation in the margin of 1 Kings 18 that quoted Bill Hardin (transition pastor at Calvary a while back). "Elijah lived in the miraculous." I'd like to live there, too. Wouldn't you?

What does "living in the miraculous" look like? The first time he's mentioned, Elijah was going about his usual life when he apparently got a word from God. Scripture doesn't relate this conversation but it might have gone like this:

"Go see the king of Israel and tell him I'm shutting off the water. No more rain until you say so." 

"Are you kidding, God? He's the KING. How am I supposed to get in to see him?"

"You let Me worry about getting in to him. Your job is to say what I told you to say. Now get going."

We don't know if he argued with God about it or not, but Elijah went and, somehow, he managed to get in to see the king. He said exactly what God told him to say, then turned and walked out of the king's chambers. 

God sent Elijah to a nature retreat by the brook Cherith. He sent ravens with food and meat, so the prophet was pretty well set there. For a while.

Ahab probably thought Elijah was a crackpot at first, but he soon found out different. No rain for a week, then two. Pretty soon, he and Jezebel had an APB (all points bulletin) out for Elijah. 

We don't know what Elijah did by the brook, but I think he took hikes, gathered sticks to build a fire at night. Usual camping activities. 

Meanwhile, a frantic search for the man who stopped the rain spread all over Israel.

After the brook dried up, God did something really tricky. He sent Elijah on a seaside retreat to Sidon, a costal town on the Mediterranean Sea. If I'd been Elijah, I'd have been afraid to go along with it, because Sidon was Jezebel's home town. God thumbed his nose at the evil queen. He hid Elijah in plain sight, and not a soul contacted Jezebel to tell her where he was.

We could go on and on. One miracle after another happened after every step of obedience. 

Those five words give us the key to living in the miraculous: After every step of obedience.

God gave Elijah seemingly outrageous instructions. Go see the king. Move to Jezebel's hometown. Elijah did exactly what God said. Every time, God honored his obedience with a series of miracles.

If that's the key, maybe that's why we don't live in the miraculous all the time. In general, as disciples, our instructions are very clear. Love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves. If we're not actively trying to accomplish the Greatest-Commandments set of directions, God's not likely to trust us with a more specific set of instructions. 

If we don't obey, we aren't likely to live in the miraculous. 

Do we want all God has for us? Obey. It's that simple. 

What about us? Does God still do miracles in our time? Yes. He does. He still does miracles of nature. Miracles of healing. Miracles of grace. 

If we want to see God at work, let's ask Him to open our ears to hear His voice, open our hearts to obey, and our eyes to see His mighty acts.

Elijah lived in the miraculous, and we can, too, IF we're willing to obey.

"Now it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, 'God, show yourself to Ahab...So Elijah went..." 1 Kings 18:1-2
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