You’ve done everything you are supposed to do.
Attended all the right conferences? Check.
Read all the latest books? Check.
Invested in “kid-friendly” curriculum you don’t totally love? Check.
Haven’t taken a day off in 8 weeks? Check.
And yet you are exhausted, at your whit’s end and about to break down. Ministry, and in particular, ministry to kid’s shouldn’t be this difficult!
If you take a step back for a minute, and look at the bigger picture you might be shocked to realize that after everything else you’ve tried, you might be missing the most obvious strategy of them all.
It’s the strategy Elijah forgot after Mount Carmel.
You likely remember the story of Mount Carmel very well. Elijah has challenged King Ahab to a duel at the top of the mountain. Elijah will prove to Ahab and all of Israel that Yahweh, the Great I AM is the only God that should ever be worshipped.
And sure enough, after all of Baal’s prophets only succeed in hurting themselves, Elijah calls down fire from heaven. The Lord’s fire consumes the water-soaked altar and answers, in a matter of seconds, it’s clear who the most high God is.
It’s not long before Ahab goes back to Jezebel and explains to her in detail what happened. Jezebel, furious at the news, promises to have Elijah killed within the next 24 hours.
It’s at this point that Elijah flees and ends up, 40-days later at the Old Testament spot perhaps most synonymous with the Lord’s presence.
Mont Horeb, also called Mount Sinai.
It’s the place where God introduced Himself to the Israelites, fresh out of Egyptian bondage. This is the mountain that shook and trembled with the presence of God. This same location was where Moses was called to, from a burning bush, to speak with Pharaoh.
God’s presence had long visited this mountain.
So it’s there that Elijah goes. As he holes up in a mountainside cave, Elijah wonders, after all the great things God has done, why the nation of Israel still doesn’t turn to Him. Elijah is frustrated that after all His efforts there is still SO LITTLE progress.
Through Elijah, God brought FIRE down from Heaven on Mount Carmel. Now, 40 days later, the Israelites still haven’t turned back to God, and Elijah is at his whit’s end.
At this point, God asks Elijah why is he there.
And the word of the Lordcame to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – I Kings 19:9
Does the Lord need to ask Elijah where he is?
Of course, not. The Lord knows! So we can see here that God isn’t asking to get information. The Lord is asking Elijah to teach him a lesson.
Over the course of the next few verses God passes by in a wind, in an earthquake, and in a fire…but the Lord isn’t IN any of them.
They all reflected God’s power, but not God’s presence. God was in control of all of them, but he wasn’t using them FOR control. God’s instruction to Elijah didn’t come through supernatural and majestic forces of nature. Bur rather through something completely missable.
While the principle is seen elsewhere in Scripture, we have here in 1 Kings, the only time that the Lord speaks in a…
STILL SMALL VOICE.
I believe that is the strategy most of us miss.
Elijah was frustrated because God didn’t use the events at Mount Carmel to begin a massive revival throughout Israel. Just the opposite, Elijah was frustrated because nothing seemed to happen.
But if we move further in the conversation between Elijah and the Lord, we see that YAHWEH was at work all along…
“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel…” – 1 Kings 19:18
But it was in the stillness that God was working.
All the years of Elijah hiding in desert, as prayed for no rain to fall. All the time spent at the widow’s house in Zarapeth was not forgotten.
God was using Elijah’s influence and his ministry to keep a group of people dedicated to Him.
God was working…in the quiet, in the stillness, and in the unseen.
In these moments of darkness, he [God] speaks through the mystery of his silence. Hence, in the dynamic of Christian revelation, silence appears as an important expression of the word of God.
While I am of the Baptist / Protestant faith, I find this insight to be remarkably true. Even on the cross, which is the context of the above quote, God uses stillness in our lives in powerful ways.
Isn’t this the strategy we are all missing?
When was the last time you sat before your God, in silence and asked Him for wisdom? When was the last time you were still, for more than a few minutes?
Even Brian Tracy, the renowned personal development coach believes in the power of thinking…of stillness. He calls it one of the most valuable actions we can take.
So in all your thinking of strategy, and in all your meetings, and brainstorming sessions, don’t leave out the most important task, that of stopping and seeking God.
Be still before the Lord, wait on Him. Seek powerful wisdom from above through the practice of stillness. It will be the most important strategy you’ve ever devised.Share this post: