Elijah, In Your Place, insignificant, irrelevant, plan, purpose
Did you know when God created you, He had a specific place for you to occupy in His plan? Many people feel insignificant in this world, but no one is irrelevant in the kingdom of God. Paul, the apostle who wrote the majority of the New Testament understood the significance of the place God designed specifically for him.
“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being.” Galatians 1:15-16 NLT
Paul realized that God was the one who chose him and selected his place. You could say that God anoints those He appoints for a specific purpose or place…and we all have one! Elijah is one of the best examples of a man who was in his place mightily used by God.
We first read about Elijah in 1 Kings Chapter 17. “At this time Ahab, who was the seventh and worst king of Israel came to reign. He took for his wife Jezebel who was a zealous participant of the worship of Baal. Ahab’s marriage to her led to the official endorsement of this immoral and idolatrous worship.”1
God’s solution to Israel’s worst king was to raise up one of the greatest and most powerful prophets in the Old Testament named Elijah. He confronted King Ahab and tells him, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1b NKJV).
Have you ever wondered why Elijah did this? Those who worshipped Baal believed that Baal controlled the rain. Elijah cut to heart of Baalism and challenged their so-called god by proclaiming that there would be no rain until he said there would be rain!
After nearly three years of drought, the question about who really controlled the rain was answered in a battle between 450 prophets of Baal and 1 prophet of the Lord, Elijah. The prophets of Baal failed to call down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice that was offered, but the one true God responded to Elijah’s prayer. Then all 450 false prophets were slain (see 1 Kings 18:20-40).
He went on to prophesy the return of the rain to the land and the drought ended. He had a very specific purpose and place to occupy and saw an amazing victory in his place. God has a place and a purpose for each one of us. He has specific calls upon our lives just as he did Elijah. If you are struggling with that truth, I pray that the Lord will help you to step out in faith and believe that He predestined you for fruitfulness.
There are two common challenges that many of us will face. First, it is sometimes difficult to understand where our place is. Secondly, when we find it, sometimes God will transition you to a new one. A wonderful couple in my church used to lead our prison ministry. They were in their place, but then God called them to pass that ministry to someone else and become pastors of a different church.
When you find yourself in a place of transition, it can be very unsettling. I recently posted a picture on my Secret Place Revelation Facebook page that showed two different paths….the message said, “Rejection can be God’s way of saying wrong direction.”
There are times in life where we may find ourselves feeling obsolete or purposeless, but I am here to tell you that this is simply not true. Sometimes those feelings are compounded because the path in front of you seems to be going in a new direction and in order for you to move forward in the new way, you have to let go of the old way. This transition can leave you feeling unsure of you place or your purpose.
There are also times when you are going the right way, but the enemy continues to put obstacles in your path to discourage you from continuing forward. Discerning which situation you are currently facing can often be very difficult.
This thought brings me back to the story of Elijah. This man just experienced the greatest victory that should have left him full of confidence that he was in the right place. However, when Ahab told his wife Jezebel what had happened in the battle of the prophets, she sent a message that his life would be taken next! This sent Elijah running for his life to a place of utter discouragement that made him want to die (see 1 Kings 19).
The Lord was so merciful to Elijah during this time, He continued to minister to him but he eventually finds himself in a cave and the Bible tells us that the Word of the Lord came to him there and said, “What are you doing here Elijah?” (1 King 19:9b)
1 Kings 19:10 NKJV
So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
The Lord continues to try to encourage Elijah…
1 Kings 19:11-16 NKJV
11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 15 Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.
Did you see those last three words…IN YOUR PLACE? If someone as mighty and powerful as Elijah can go from a place of such great victory to a place of such discouragement and purposelessness, we can too!
I have often asked myself, “What happened to his faith?” This man prayed there would not be rain and there wasn’t for almost three years. He prayed for the dead son of the widow of Zarephath and he returned to life. He prayed fire down from heaven that consumed the sacrifice, yet the threat of Jezebel sent him into a state of great discouragement that seemingly took him out of his place.
My pastor recently said, “Disappointments are inevitable but discouragement is a choice.” Do you think it is possible that Elijah could have continued in his place if he could have overcome the discouragement he was in? I have always wondered. He was an amazing and mighty man of God and he certainly received his reward with a chariot ride to heaven, but consider for a moment the possibility of what he missed completing when he was told to anoint Elisha to take his place?
I do not want to be a person who fails to be in my place. I don’t want God to have to look for someone else to complete the call He gives me to do. We have a mission at our church, “To know Him more, and to make Him known.” I have a place in this mission and so do you! I cannot let the devil or a Jezebel talk me out of that.
I am encouraging you to make that mission personal….“To know Him more and to make Him know IN YOUR PLACE!”
New Spirit Filled Life Bible 2002 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. p 467