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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Zeal of the Lord # 2

The Zeal of the Lord As Seen In Elijah's Dependence and Elijah's Prayer

Then a thing was done which to us might sound like a questionable thing. Standing with God in an utter way it was possible for him to make the declaration we have noted. If yo want to stand with God, and have God standing with you, if you want to know that intimacy of fellowship in which the two are as one, so that you can say, "As the Lord ... liveth, before Whom I stand ...," this is the way, to be abandoned utterly, at all personal cost, to this one end of the Lord having His place in fullness in His Own people. Because that was the object of his being, because he was burning with jealousy for God's rights, it was possible for Elijah to say, "As the Lord ... liveth, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." Blessing shall be suspended, because blessing is only making these people to go on in something less than God intended. I say, that might sound a very questionable line of procedure. But you know the good is very often the enemy of the best, and because there is a measure of blessing people sometimes become blind by that very thing to the full thought of God.

Whether the conditions of our own day demand the same kind of prayer it is not our intention to discuss, but the point is this, that Elijah came to God's position, that utterness for the Lord justifies anything, that for the Lord to have His place in fullness, and all His rights in His Own people, is of greater importance than all other blessings He may grant them. The Lord is justified in bringing His people even into a state of spiritual starvation in order to get His fullness in them, and they will justify Him in the long run when they come to heavenly fullness along the line of a closed heaven.

So the very introduction of Elijah speaks with tremendous forcefulness about what he stands for, jealousy for God's full rights.

Elijah's Self-effacement

As soon as Elijah had made his announcement, the Lord said to him, "Get thee hence ... and hide thyself by the brook Cherith ..." And he went and hid himself being fed by ravens and drinking of the water of the brook. Here is a man who, in working together with God (he is cooperating with God to the end that God may come into His place in fullness), finds that his very jealousy for God requires sometimes that he himself stands back, keeps quiet, waits, while God works. It is a difficult thing to do, to wait and wait, and not put your hand on thing, not show yourself, but keep holding on with God in secret. Oh, we must be so busy, we must be doing something, be always on the go, or else we imagine that nothing is being done, or that God is not doing anything. We think that if we are not doing anything, then God is not doing anything. That is our attitude, and very often the real work of God is spoiled by our interference, by our trying to do it for Him, and by our being so busy in His things. There is a time when God's greatest interests are best reached by our getting away and being quiet, and holding on to Him in the secret place.

Then when the brook dried up, the Lord said, "Arise, get thee to Zarephath ... behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee." He went to Zarephath  and found the woman, and called to her, "Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel that I may drink ... and ...bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand." And she said, "As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in the barrel, and a little oil in the cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die." And Elijah said unto her, "Fear not ... make me thereof a little cake first ..." Make me first! Make me first! It sounds selfish, almost cruel, but what does Elijah stand for if not for the recognition of God's true place. He is as God. God's representative in this situation, and so he makes this claim. The woman was obedient in faith. What happened? She did not die, neither did her son, but she had heavenly fullness when she put God first. That is the way to heavenly fullness. Elijah stood for God's rights and said: God must be first. Whenever that is recognized and acknowledged, it is found to be the very way of enlargement, the way to new discoveries.

The rest of the story is well known. For the woman there was enlargement indeed. Her son dies, and all seems to speak of loss, but in resurrection life he was given back and possessed on resurrection ground; a miracle, the incoming of heavenly fullness in the place of what before was merely earthly.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with #3 - "Elijah's Spirit of Obedience")

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