Recently, I dreamed of two interns. One was in the operating room assisting the Chief Physician in an operation, but he made a mistake, a costly mistake even. The physician said it was serious enough but he was able to correct it and cover over it so that there was no damage or scar. He then took that opportunity to explain and teach the young intern so that he could avoid this kind of mistake in the future.
The second intern wandered off to another operating room. He was merely curious and wanted to observe, however the only person in that room was he himself and there did not appear to be anything going on. He touched nothing and did “nothing wrong” but something went wrong (in the dream it was not clear what that was) and he was formally accused and “tried”, because he was the only one in the room at the time. He was not where he belonged.
Interpretation: The Lord is our Chief Physician. I felt the Operating Room He was operating in was “The Grace Room” while the other operating room was “The Judgement Room”. As long as we remain in the place He has called us to be, all our mistakes, even grave ones, are covered with grace. That does not mean we get away with anything. The Chief Physician uses these errors to teach us valuable lessons. We are safe as long as we are with Him. However, if we wander away from His watchful eye, from the place He has called us to be, we are wrong no matter if we have done nothing wrong.
And I, I alone, am Left
(or “I Am Not Right”)
1 Kings 19:14 He said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts, because the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and slain Your prophets with the sword. And I, I only, am left, and they seek my life, to destroy it.
Elijah just had his greatest victory on Mt Carmel. (1 Kings 18) Elijah gathered all the men of Israel and said to them “How long will you waiver between two opinions? If God is God, then follow Him, and if Baal is God, then follow him” Basically “Get off the fence and live what you believe!” And in front of all Israel he said “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.
Now, Elijah has made an error here, for he was NOT the only prophet left.
He was like the intern in my dream, in “The Grace Room” operating under the watchful, careful eye of the Lord. Not only does the Lord NOT publicly humiliate him, he doesn’t even correct him. Instead, the Lord validates and performs His glory in front of all Israel, and 450 prophets of Baal AND 400 prophets of the Asherah, based upon Elijah’s faith in God.
Please don’t miss that! Elijah has claimed he was “the only prophet left” a few times. The first time he declared that, he received no rebuke or correction. Why not?
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is seen running from one woman. He just performed the greatest miracle of his career, and now he is running from ONE woman.
What follows? Depression for starters. Severe depression. He calls out to the Lord to take his life. This is not “the blues” we get from time to time. This is severe depression when you call out to God “Take my life.” He questioned the Lord, basically, as to what was His purpose for keeping him around. He was no better than his ancestors.
However, the response to Elijah was via the Angel of the Lord who provided him food because his journey was going to be a long one. Elijah was going BACK into the wilderness. He was IN the wilderness in 1 Kings 17, and strengthened by the food brought by the ravens. He recognized supernatural provision then, and was even able to perform the miracle of the widow’s oil, but here, he was sent back into the wilderness where he was fed by an angel this time.
He goes on his journey and then comes to Mt Horeb where he inquires of God. “What are you doing here Elijah?”
Ever get that word from the Lord?
“What are you doing here Darlene?”
It’s like you once thought it was okay to go certain places because you thought you were invincible and God would just follow you and answer you and vindicate you because you are so great at what you do for Him, and nobody does it quite like you, that it doesn’t really matter where you go or how you speak to Him.
Or does it?
Elijah’s response again? “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” (vs 10)
The Lord gives him one more time to respond with the HeArT rEsPoNsE He requires of Elijah, but the Lord isn’t asking Elijah because He Himself doesn’t know. He is giving Elijah time to think about where he is and why.
Location, Location, Location.
“Tell me Elijah, why are you here?”
The Lord tells Elijah to go stand at a different place upon the mountain. He passed by but Elijah could not see Him. And then a fierce storm came, and the Lord was not in it. An earthquake came, and the Lord was not to be found. Elijah then found the Lord again. He was in the still, small voice. He was found in peace.
The Lord asks one more time “What are you doing here Elijah?” Again, He wants a proper heart response from Elijah.
Location, Location, Location.
“Where is your heart, Elijah? Is it operating in The Grace Room or have you wandered off to The Judgement Room again? You will be tried there, you know. I’m not there to bail you out. I’m not there to cover you”
Elijah’s response again?
“I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” (Vs 14)
What Elijah was telling the Lord is that he had this awesome, heavy duty, magnificent call, that nobody else had, or if they did, they are not obeying the Lord quite like Elijah himself is because he doesn’t see anybody coming forth to help him out!
“Who will do this if I don’t?”
THE JOB WILL NOT GET DONE!
“At least not the RIGHT way”
(vs 15-18) The Lord said to him, Go,
return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus;
and when you arrive, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king over Israel, and
anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah to be prophet in your place.
And him who escapes from the sword of Hazael Jehu shall slay, and him who escapes the sword of Jehu Elisha shall slay.
Yet I will leave Myself 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.
Elijah’s mantle of authority was removed by the Lord in the same breath that He told Elijah to go back to the wilderness. Back to the drawing board.
I counseled someone I work with on this scripture the other day. As soon as I mentioned that Elijah lost his authority, she had an “aha!” moment.
“That’s because I’ll be bitter, isn’t it? I don’t have power to lead anyone if I am bitter. And they won’t pick up the slack if I think I have to do it all, therefore I do it all, right? ”
Correctamundo. She will not do the job well, if she does what she doesn’t have grace to do, just because she thinks nobody else will do it.
I know of a handful of people that I can think of right now within seconds, who felt as if they were dead in the water waiting for God to move in their lives. They either criticized the leaders in the geographical area they were in for not obeying the Lord as they have been, or were bitter because God was not moving in their lives but once they moved to a another location, the power of God fell upon their ministry.
Another person had to move his residence in order to gain employment and healing. It wasn’t like the state he was in didn’t provide that for many, but it was because God’s grace for this person was not in the location he was currently in. Once he did, God’s wisdom fell upon this one.
Another person waited for decades to be in church ministry. As she was passed over many times, her heart became bitter. But once she stopped seeking ministry in the church and found her call in the marketplace, she was respected and sought after, and God moved. Her heart became sweeter and it resulted in healing in her own body.
Some of you who are reading this are feeling dead in the water. Nothing is moving. Nothing is happening. Nobody is helping you. Nobody responds. And you wonder where God is in your life. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not about anything except your location.
It’s like being in “The Grace Room” under His watchful eye. Being where He calls us to be. Doing only as He instructs us to do. Receiving grace to perform. Empowerment to succeed. He causes success and he thwarts it. It’s not about how much we do. It isn’t even about how great we perform the duties of our call.
It’s about how well we follow His lead.