Peaks and Valleys

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. 1 Kings 18 27-29

It’s rare to see a prophet of God in the Bible having fun. He had challenged them, and they were failing miserably. You have to know that there were a lot of prophets of Baal who were getting more and more frustrated as the daylight hours faded. They were now bleeding for their god. More than anything, I like Elijah’s confidence in his ability to call on the name of the Lord. It was quickly becoming Show Time for Elijah. In the vernacular, he would have to “put up or shut up.”

I find that confidence, in general, comes and goes. In the next chapter, Elijah cowers and runs for his life. We’re not supposed to compare ourselves to these men of God, but we do. Many times you’ll hear about the boldness that Elijah had when he called down fire, but that’s not the full story. Elijah, like us, experienced peaks and valleys, times when the world was for him and the world was against him. We wish we were more consistent, but we’re not. Actually, that’s comforting to me because if these great men of God had their ups and downs, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’ll also have those ups and downs too. Does that mean we shouldn’t “go for God” with everything we have? Absolutely, we should. But if we fail, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over it and let that be the hallmark of our faith. We should, however, repent if needed, get back up and do it all over again.

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