Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“He sitteth on the waterfloods, yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever. The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”
Psalm 29: 10,11
“‘He sitteth on the waterfloods’; across the storm swept tide
I hear His voice, as in the secret place in Him I hide;
And though the waters roar and toss, and though the waves roll high,
I will not fear, for faith can hear, His whispered, ‘It is I’.
‘He sitteth on the waterfloods’; therefore I cannot fear,
For through the raging storm I feel and know that He is near;
Nothing can touch me but His will, and none can do me harm;
He lets me prove how real and deep is God’s unfailing calm.
‘He sitteth on the waterfloods’; and if today I stand
In the storm area, He is there, my Pilot close at hand,
To guide me through the raging flood that worketh out His will,
And well I know my listening heart will hear His, ‘Peace be still.’
‘He sitteth on the waterfloods’; and so I calmly wait
God’s time to end the stormy strife, He never is too late.
‘Clear shining after rain’, will come, after the storm a calm,
And tears will make a rainbow fair, and sorrow end in psalm.’”
Today’s Study Text:
“And the word of the Lord came unto Elijah, saying, ‘Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.”
1 Kings 17: 2
“Following Our Guide”
“Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…make Your way level straight and right before my face.”
Psalm 5: 8
Have I committed myself to following the Guide of my life?
What do I think David meant when He wrote: “For this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our Guide even unto death”?
Psalm 48: 14
“Deep in your heart it is not guidance that you want as much as a Guide.”
Today is my beloved father’s birthday. I can never forget this date because of the tremendous impression my Dad left in my life, even though he was not blessed with “length of days.”
As I was preparing today’s devotional and reflecting on our study text, I thought how providential it is that we are examining the passage in 1 Kings 17:2 where God directed Elijah to a place of safety after a “hit” had been issued against him as a result of his message to Ahab and Jezebel that there would be no rain. The reason I used the word “providential” is that our story about Elijah today is all about choosing the right Guide. And if there was a person who was a terrific “guide” when it came to navigating unknown earthly terrain -- it was my Dad.
So for a moment, put yourself in Elijah’s place. From his secluded life in Gilead, he was led by God to go to Samaria, the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel. His mission: To deliver the news from God that the heavens had been closed up and there would be no rain or dew.
Once Elijah dropped this “verbal bomb” in the palace, what was he to do? I am certain this thought had to have crossed Elijah’s mind. It surely would have been something I would have considered. First of all, after delivering this message, I think Elijah might have wondered if he should walk or run as fast as his legs could carry him -- in the opposite direction of the palace and Samaria.
But here are the facts as the Bible tells the story. God gave Elijah a message. And after he had carried out the task of doing what God asked him to do, it was only then that God gave Elijah further instructions on proceeding -- and let’s notice, the information God gave Elijah was only for the next step, not the rest of his entire life.
It is this fact that started me thinking about the words of John White who said, “Deep in your heart it is not guidance that you want as much as a Guide.” As I pondered this statement, I thought about the years I followed my Dad as he guided groups of young people on weekend treks in the rocky canyons of Arizona. My Dad was the ultimate Boy Scout. Growing up as an orphan, scouting became a haven for him. Weekend camping trips provided training, discipline, and comfort to a young boy who felt abandoned. It was on these numerous mountain adventures where my Dad learned to become a terrific guide and leader. I can say that I never felt concerned or worried about anything when out in the rugged Arizona terrain with my father. Whether it was inclement weather or a hissing rattlesnake or a hungry stomach -- my Dad was on top of everything. The fact was, I didn’t need to know where we were going when we took off on some jaunt up a canyon wash or through a mountain creek. I knew that our guide (my Dad) had already staked-out all the problem areas; he’d planned for where we would camp at night; and he knew exactly how far we would walk when our thirsty throats and dry lips would call for water.
This is why the guide we choose to follow on any adventure is so critical to the success of our endeavor. And this doesn’t just apply to camping trips on earth. In fact, I’d contend that in the most important journey of all, our journey to our eternal home, choosing the right Guide is the most important decision of our entire life.
After studying as we did about King Solomon and the choices he made which led him off God’s path onto a wayward detour of his own making, it is easier for me to understand the words he penned in the book of Proverbs where he left this sage advice: “Put all your trust in the Lord and do not rely on your own understanding. At every step you take keep Him in mind, and He will direct your path” (Proverbs 3: 5,6, R.E.B.).
It seems Solomon learned this lesson in the “School of Hard Knocks.” And wise it is. But what’s more, as we study the life of Elijah, we are given personal lessons on what happens when we choose God for our Guide as Elijah did.
Somewhere in the mountains of Gilead, maybe under a starry sky, Elijah met the God of heaven and earth. He took time to get acquainted with Him. He talked to God. And most importantly, he learned to listen to God and watch for God at work. With time, their relationship developed into a trusting friendship -- one where two individuals count on each other. And this is why, when God was ready to move, He knew without a doubt, He could depend on His trusted servant, Elijah. With a God-given message, Elijah followed the directions of his Guide right to the palace in Samaria. This was all Elijah knew he was to do when he left Gilead to walk miles to the kingdom’s capital. Once Elijah’s work was done at the palace, he walked with confidence out the palace doors, trusting that his Guide would lead him to just the perfect place he needed to be next. Elijah didn’t get to see the whole picture. God didn’t give him a map with every side-road and creek marked out on it. Instead, Elijah followed his Guide -- that was enough for him.
What a lesson for you and me -- especially me! I’m one of those people who doesn’t like the unknown. I don’t like to walk down a path only to find out it’s a dead-end. I want to know what’s around the corner or over on the other side of that huge mountain. I don’t want to cross a creek during flood season only to get swept down stream and end up in some unfamiliar territory without all the “securities” I’ve come to depend on. How about you? Am I describing the way you have felt in your life when you can’t figure out the future and what you do see ahead doesn’t look promising?
Then here’s our solution. It’s the same solution that kept Elijah taking one foot and putting it in front of the other -- everyday. He followed his Guide -- step-by-step.
Years ago, when I was a young girl, my Dad was involved in working in what were called: “Neighborhood Bible Clubs.” These afternoon, in-home clubs for kids were held in inner-city locations across Los Angeles. Some of the neighborhoods were very tough. Once my Dad held up a Bible in front of a large group of children gathered in the local park for their “Bible Club” meeting. Not one child in that group had ever seen a Bible before -- let alone owned one. These simple “club” meetings had one goal -- to introduce children to their “Guide” -- Jesus Christ. This was a unique concept when the only guide many of these kids had ever known was some gang leader or drug dealer or pimp.
It was at these “Bible Clubs” where I learned a song that became a favorite with many of the children who were my age, too. It went like this:
I would walk with Jesus.
All the day, all the way,
Keeping step with Jesus.”
It was a simple kids song with a deep spiritual message -- one we see carried out in the life of Elijah as he listened and watched for instructions from his heavenly Guide and then he followed, one step at a time!
“While life’s dark maze I tread,
And grief’s around me spread,
Be Thou my Guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray
From Thee aside.”
“Thou hast ordained that we should pass through this life as travelers, till Thou gatherest us to Thy heavenly rest. Give us grace to bear in mind that heavenly inheritance which Thou hast set before us. So guide us in our journey that we stray not, neither depart from the way; but keep us ever looking forward to the prize of our high calling, until we shall have finished our course with joy. May we behold by faith things invisible; and may our dependence be on Thee alone; may we so trust to Thy gracious providence as not to doubt our safety, since life and salvation are Thy care. So, when troubles or storms assault us, we shall still remain in peace, till we finally enjoy that blessed and eternal rest which Thou hast prepared for us in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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