Yesterday’s victories simply won’t cut it for today’s adversities.
One of the most exciting adventures in the Bible is story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. The story can be found in 1 Kings 18. In those days, Israel was ruled by a very wicked king, Ahab and his even more wicked wife, Jezebel. They had raised the bar on what it meant to be an idol-worshipper and had spread their empty religion throughout the land. King Ahab was confronted and boldly challenged by God’s courageous prophet, Elijah (v. 17-19). The challenge was to see whose God/god could reign fire down from heaven and incinerate the sacrifice on top of the alter. Well, in a contest between the one, true God and a host of non-gods, you can imagine who won (v. 20-40). Not only did Ahab mope away back to his hag-queen, but Elijah also routed the 450 false prophets before they could get away (v. 40). God’s hand truly was on Elijah (v. 46). What a story! What a victory!
It would be great if the story ended there, but it doesn’t. Ahab when home and whined to his beldame. It a fierce rage she got word to Elijah that she was going to take him out (19:1-3). Rather than boldly confronting this wicked woman like he had her husband, he flees into the wilderness, collapses beneath a broom tree and in a desperate cry of depressed anguish, he asks God to take his life (19:4). You cannot help but be stunned! Is this the same guy from chapter 18? The man who challenged and then slaughtered 450 prophets of Baal? The same man who saw his omnipotent, miracle-working God show up just days before?
This story reminded me that each day has its own set of battles; it’s own unique challenges and trials. One day the assault may come from an inward temptation to sin. The next day it may be a phone call from a loved one or a doctor. The next, a wayward child or a impossible coworker. We may have triumphed mightily yesterday but the grace that was given yesterday is not the same that I will need today. And the victory I received yesterday is not the same as the victory I am looking forward to today.
We need to remember to receive from God’s pantry of grace a fresh helping to face what may come across our path on today’s journey. Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that his mercies are new each and every day. He offers us all the spiritual strength we need. It’s ours for the taking. Each day I need to renew my dependence upon his Holy Spirit. Each day I need a fresh helping of his Word. And each day I need to drink deeply of the refreshing river of his grace.
I love the end of the story in 1 Kings 19. God tenderly comes to Elijah in the midst of his self-absorbed misery and gently reminds Elijah that the Almighty is still in control. Grace for the day. He did just as he promised.