~ Wisdom Versus Knowledge ~
Part 4 of 4
Elijah "prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." (James 5:17-18) Wow! Did Elijah have a special connection with God? Surely such prayer manifestations are relegated to the holy prophets only. No! This report of Elijah's prayer fulfillment was preceded by a very important declaration: "Elijah was a man just like us."
Job "was a man just like us." Moses "was a man just like us." (God picks people to change the course of history who are just like us.) But in a way that perhaps Moses is not like us, he offered himself as atonement for the sins of his nation: "Please forgive their sin, but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written." (Exodus 32:32) Moses was telling God to sacrifice his life in exchange for the nation of Israel. He was willing to give his life and turn down God's promise to create a new nation around him out of love for his people. That love, that desire to be the ultimate servant, changed history. That love persuaded God (to use human terms) to not destroy Israel as He had planned.
But consider that Elijah, Job, Moses and others knew much less than we do! Elijah and Moses were invited to the transfiguration of Jesus where the three of them discussed matters in the presence of a couple of apostles. They may have been invited, in part, because they knew what is required for the atonement of sin. In fact, Moses actually offered to do for his people what only Christ could do. But Elijah and Moses were learning what we already know. And poor Job! He had no idea of the spiritual warfare that assaulted him. Unlike us, he didn't have the advantage of reading his own story and died without learning about spiritual warfare as taught in the book bearing his name and through out the New Testament.
The "important thing" is that each of these men and the other prophets held intimate relationships with God. Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, Moses, Elijah, Jonah, and many others questioned God. But note that God was not offended at this apparent human challenge…Instead, God, the loving Father, responded with loving instruction.
Perhaps some of you emailed the US President, the Pope in the Vatican or the heads of government in Cuba, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc., with your comments. No doubt you got a polite, form letter in response, if you got any at all. Unless you are an intimate of these heads of state. In that case you are very likely to have received a personal response.
The scriptures allude to the reality of "as above, so below"…If we do not have an intimate relationship with God, the Father, wherein we can question, ask, submit, listen, discuss and continue to be overwhelmed by His love and our gratitude, our prayers will be as effective as an email to the White House staff who don't know us from Adam. Consider the contrast to this scripture: "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend." (Ex. 33:11) Wow! To speak with God as a man speaks with his friend! That's prayer!
Also consider that Moses, Elijah, Abraham and all the others did not have the divinely inspired scripture we have today to reply upon for guidance; they did not have the teachings of Christ; they did not have the ultimate atonement of our sins through Christ; they did not have the gift of the Holy Spirit, which could come only after Christ's ascension to the Father. Wake up, children of the Lord! We can know more than the ancient prophets! The Holy Spirit is within us like the Spirit could never be before Christ's resurrection! Jesus said we would do greater works than He did. Why aren't we doing even the same works? Has it something to do with intimacy? The Spirit in us is greater than all that is in the world! We were made the very ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven. We are invited to call God "Abba" (affectionately "Dad" in translation). Intimacy, submission and servitude, along with both wisdom and knowledge give us the power to transform our lives and the world in His Name! To be spiritual couch potatoes is to hinder the fulfillment of God's will in our lives and in the world. To keep tugging on His robe with the faith and trust of a child, calling Him Abba, and lifting hearts of love, obedience, and desires to Him, is to free His perfect will for us and His promises to us, in an infinitely greater and more wondrous way than any loving, earthly parents could do in response to their children. "As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask." (Jesus, in Matthew 7:11)
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
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Weekly Reflections © April 27, 2000
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