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"Thy Word Have I Hid In Mine Heart..." Psalm 119 : 11

Fire Again

And the fire of God came down from heaven.
2 KINGS 1:12
26th September
Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Remember, Jesus for us is all our righteousness before a holy God, and Jesus in us is all our strength in an ungodly world.
Some preachers are very hard on Elijah. They insist that his retreat under Jezebel's threat was a failure from which he never recovered. According to them, Elijah lost out with God and never resumed his former place of usefulness. They point out that in the great events of I Kings chapters 20 and 22 Elijah is not even mentioned, and that other prophets are to the fore.

It would be wrong to minimize Elijah's failure. We can understand it, but we must not condone it. But it is equally wrong to overstate his failure and fail to see the restoring grace of God. The notion that the Lord put Elijah on the shelf and terminated his usefulness and gave his work to others misses the whole point. The very fact that now there were other prophets ready to take a public stand was a fruit of Elijah's ministry. It is surely perverse to make a man's success a mark of failure and judgment!

The truth is that though Elijah's ministry was almost over, God had not finished with him. His work did not peter out; it blazed on victoriously to the very end. Witness the fire that fell from heaven to consume the soldiers sent by Ahaziah to force his appearance before the king. To the end Elijah knew the same power he had had on Mt. Carmel.

What an encouragement! Christian service is not just for the young. Nor does the power or usefulness of our lives have to diminish with the passage of time. Even failure need not be permanent. "He restoreth my soul." There is grace to pardon, to restore, to rekindle the fire of blessing. Do not be content to live with the mere memory of past usefulness to God. If you have fainted and lost your former zeal and power call upon Him whose promise is, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). You can again be used in God's service.