Wineskins Archive

December 3, 2013

Rest (Feb 2013)

Filed under: — @ 3:40 pm and

By Sherry Hubright

There was a time when the prophet Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. As he journeyed in the desert Elijah came to a broom tree. He sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” Elijah looked around and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. (From 1 Kings 19)

Elijah was tired. Battles, obstacles, and evil people wearied his soul. This was not the first time the LORD had met Elijah’s physical needs, but this time his weariness had become emotional and spiritual too. If I had to guess, most of us are not unlike this man of God. Can I be honest with you for a moment? Elijah is a man I can certainly relate to right now. For more years than I care to remember my prayers appear to fall on deaf ears and I am too weary to plead any more. So I watch as one I deeply love succumbs to a greater blindness, and two of the Most Innocent are left at risk. There are moments when I would much rather lay down under the broom tree, fall asleep, and not wake up. It would be much easier than the watching. Selfish, I know.

What I deeply appreciate about the passage in 1 Kings 19 is God’s heart for giving protection and provision. God did not admonish or ignore Elijah, or minimize his circumstances. Instead, He met his physical need for food, water and rest. The LORD recognized Elijah’s emotional and spiritual poverty as well. God sent an angel to minister to Elijah and in every way. The LORD acknowledged that the journey was too much for His servant and insisted he rest longer, which he did. Only after Elijah’s needs were met was he able to travel on to Horeb, the mountain of God.The same is true for us too. Resting allows us to wait until we are better able to continue on the journey. Resting may give our eyes the chance to see the miracle as it unfolds.

We may not have a broom tree to shelter us but, like Elijah, our LORD knows when the spiritual battle is too long and the journey is too much and makes a provision we could not otherwise give ourselves. Simply stated, the broom tree represents a “stepping away” place. It is a place of refuge, provision, and safety. It is a place where we are given the gift of rest and the company of prayer-warriors and kindred-spirits. It is a time when we can reflect on our blessings more than the struggle and entrust Him with all the details in our living. It is a time when we find His strength to journey on toward the mountain of God.

From Psalm 91: “He who dwells in the shelter (covering, hiding place) of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD: He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust… He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings will you find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day…

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