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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Ministry of Elijah

1 Kings 17

What we have in view, of course, in the first place, is the servant of the Lord. Once more God is found reacting to a state of thing among His own people, rising up in Divine discontent, and, as always, laying His hand upon an instrument for recovery.

So Elijah stands before us to represent such an instrument, and, in God's dealings with him, we see the ways and the principles by which a servant of the Lord is made an effectual servant, in relation to the purpose of God.

The Sovereign Choice of God

The first thing related to any such instrument is the sovereignty of God. There is never any adequate, natural explanation for the choice and appointment by God of His servants. There maybe things in the chosen instrument which will be turned to account, when they are wholly sanctified and brought under the government of God's Spirit, but when all has been said, we have to recognize that God's choice of His instruments is always a sovereign choice, and not because there is anything naturally in the instrument to warrant His choosing that instrument and selecting it from others. He acts sovereignly in choosing and appointing for His purpose. But, although that may be true, and although God may go beyond choosing and may endue that instrument with spiritual power, yet the instrument must be controlled and disciplines continually by the hand of God. Otherwise that servant of the Lord, or that instrument, will be found following in the direction of his own soul, following his own judgments, being influenced by his own feelings. The intent and motive may be very good, it may be very godly, but that does not dispense with the necessity of that instrument being continuously under the hand of God, for government and for discipline.

That is what comes very clearly before us at the outset in the case of Elijah. There is no doubt about God's sovereign choice, and there is no question as to God having endued Elijah with Divine power. Nevertheless, we see him at every step under the hand of God, and those steps are all steps which are a disciplining of the man himself. God is dealing with His servant all the time, and bringing him, all the way along, under His hand, so that he never becomes something in himself, but has everything in the Lord, and only in the Lord. We make a great mistake if we thing that it is enough to have the Divine thought as to Divine purpose, that is, to have the knowledge of what God desires to do. That is not enough, that knowledge of the thought of God is not sufficient. There has to be a dealing with us in relation to that Divine thought, and that dealing with us is usually in a way which is altogether beyond our understanding.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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