Thursday, June 30, 2011

"The Lord's Doing"

     In the "battle of the prophets" (I Kings 18:21-39), the pagan god Baal's ministers cried, leapt upon their altar, and even cut themselves to make blood sacrifices in order to elicit their deity's response to Elijah's challenge (no response was forthcoming).
     Conversely, Elijah repaired the Lord's altar, dug trenches to hold the excess water with which he doused the sacrifice, and prayed a simple prayer whereby he asked the Lord to remind and restore His people.  The result?  The fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God" (I Kings 18:38-39).
    Elijah did nothing, and could have done nothing, to manipulate God's fiery consumption of the sacrifice.  In fact, he did that which would appear to have made success less likely (drenching the sacrifice with water).  The prophet simply restored the altar to be suitable for the offering it would hold, and then asked the Lord to do that which only He could accomplish.  God responded accordingly, and His people were restored to faith in their rightful Lord.
    The arm of the flesh seeks to add its doings and manipulations to the work of God, believing that He needs our help to fulfill His will.  The arm of the Spirit foregoes such carnal striving in order to bear witness and shine the spotlight on the hand of God.  He may use our faculties and members as His tools, but we and others will know that no explanation exists other than "this is the Lord's doing, it is marvelous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).
    We do well to often ask our Lord where we are crying, leaping and sacrificing rather than trusting, repairing and praying.  This is true both in our personal lives, and in our corporate experience together as assemblies of believers.  Could our doings and activities happen without God's involvement?  Are we adding carnal supplements to the work of the Spirit?  Or are we resting in Christ by the faith that seeks His working, and submits to being His steward rather than our own master and manipulator?  The answers to these questions will determine whether the Lord Jesus is clearly revealed in our lives, and whether His doings will truly be "marvelous in our eyes."
"My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him."
(Psalm 62:5)

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