Daily Devotional 7-11-19

Ups and Downs in Faith 
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful   
“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.” 1 Kings 19:1-3
Idolatry was leading Israel away from God. Israel was bowing to the gods of the surrounding culture, and the prophet Elijah stepped in to intervene. He staged a contest with 450 prophets of Baal to prove who was the true god—Baal or the God of Israel.  After the God of Israel won the contest, Elijah executed all the 450 prophets of Baal. Ahab told his wife, Jezebel, of the execution of the 450 prophets, and she swore to kill Elijah. One would think, if the prophets of Baal did not survive Elijah, how would a woman stand him? However, Elijah fled from Jezebel for his dear life. How could a great prophet who had demonstrated great faith in God run away from a woman?
Where was the faith of Elijah?
I am certain there are many who can identify with Elijah’s situation! I am one of them. In one moment your faith is strong, you feel on top, you are full of zeal; then the next episode is filled with fear, doubts and intimidation. In one moment you demonstrate your faith in and love for Christ, and the next moment is a complete opposite. The nature of my service affords me the opportunity to encourage people, but there have been times I had to call on friends for encouragement and prayer support. All the great people that God used had their fair share of the ebb and flow of faith.
Elijah was tired. He felt alone. He was probably depressed and wanted to die. He felt surrounded by the idolatrous culture, and could no more bear the pressure of standing alone without any help. He was tired of being a lone ambassador of God. And being a human, he could no longer hold on. Thus, he desired to die (1 Kings 19:4). Are you tired of enduring the pressure of this world? Do you feel like no one cares about you? Are you scared to be labelled because of your faith in Christ? How do you feel holding on truth as found in God’s word?
Hear God’s promise: “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint,” Isaiah 40:30.
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, breathe on us again, baptize us with new strength, so that we may be faithful even to death.