June 30, 2008
INTO THE SHADOWS
by Charles R. Swindoll
Any recruit who has been through boot camp can tell you that every hour of the day someone is ordering you where to go, when to be there, what to do, and how to survive. That's a vital part of basic training. And God did the same for His prophet. He told Elijah exactly where he was to go, what he was to do when he got there, and how he would manage to survive. How strange the plan must have seemed to Elijah.
The first thing he was to do was hide.
"Hide myself? I'm a prophet! I'm a palace man. I'm out there in public proclaiming your Word. You seem to forget, Lord, I'm called to preach."
No, God told Elijah. Not this time. "Hide yourself," God said.
The Hebrew word here suggests the idea of concealment, of being absent on purpose. "Conceal yourself, Elijah," God said. "Absent yourself in secrecy."
One of the most difficult commands to hear, and one of the hardest commands to obey, is the command to hide. The admonition to go off and be alone, to get away from the public spotlight, to drop back and deliberately remain hidden. This is especially true if you are comfortable in the limelight, an up-front kind of person, one who is obviously gifted with leadership abilities. It's also true if you are a doer. A get-the-job-done kind of person.
You may be a capable woman, whether homemaker or career woman. Then, suddenly, you are snatched from your world of endless activity and effective involvement. God says, in no uncertain terms, "Hide yourself. Get alone. Get out of the limelight. Get away from all those things that satisfy your human pride and ego, and go live by the brook."
Sometimes sickness forces such a change. Sometimes we reach the peak of our energy output and begin to burn out, or we are about to do so. Sometimes God, without explaining Himself, simply removes us from one place and reshapes us for another.
God had two reasons for commanding Elijah to hide himself. First, He wanted to protect Elijah from Ahab; and second, He wanted to train him to become a man of God. When God says to us, almost out of the blue, "Hide yourself," He usually has both purposes in mind: protection and training.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.