If you want to know Christ, to love him and to serve him with an undivided heart …
I have a word from the Lord for you:
You’re not alone, my beloved. Others are out there, seeking to know me intimately and to follow me fully. You may have trouble finding them. You may be slow to recognize them. They may not look like you have thought. On days when you feel desperately alone, know that you are not. But even if you were, do not quit this pursuit. One undivided heart matters more than you can dream.
I have a warning from the Lord for you:
Beware of Ahab and Jezebel, my beloved. They hate you. They’re determined to own you or destroy you – and they do not look like you have thought. In me, you have more authority than they. But to walk in that authority, you have to see past strong deception. You have to walk in the blessing of an undivided heart.
And, yes, I have a blessing from the Lord for you. It’s a Spirit-to-spirit blessing. It will unfold as God reveals a man named Elijah to you, and as God breathes into you the same spirit and power Elijah received.
You’ll receive this blessing in your spirit before you can mentally fathom it or emotionally feel it. If you try to turn that process around – to let logic or emotion lead – you’ll miss the blessing entirely. You’ll think you already know the Old Testament prophet. Or, eager to learn, you’ll gain much head knowledge about a man whose life bears little resemblance to yours. You may feel a bit of kinship with Elijah, especially at his low points. More often, you’ll feel outranked and outclassed by a life of such epic stature.
Regularly, Elijah experienced the miraculous. Always, he prophesied with 100 percent accuracy. He announced extended drought, enjoyed supernatural provision throughout, then ushered in the rains. Three times, he called down fire from heaven. Once, he parted the Jordan River and walked across on dry land. Once, he raised the dead. Boldly, Elijah confronted national leaders, giving them orders and warning of judgments to come. Dramatically, he stood on Mt. Carmel against 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah – and proved the Lord more powerful than all their idols combined.
Speaking of drama, Elijah’s life epitomizes the dramatic entrance and exit. In 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah suddenly appeared on the scene, announcing to King Ahab: “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” (NASU). In 2 Kings 2, Elijah disappeared just as abruptly, riding heavenward on a whirlwind in a chariot of fire.
The end? Not hardly.
Hundreds of years after Elijah lived, Malachi prophesied his return. Indeed, the Old Testament concludes with God’s promise of the ultimate dramatic entrance: “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Mal. 4:5-6 NASU).
As the New Testament opens, God instigates the first fulfillment of that promise. He sends John the Baptist “in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
John pointed people to Jesus. When Herod martyred John, his voice wasn’t silenced, nor his life snuffed out – and Elijah exited only briefly.
One day toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, the Lord went up a mountain to pray. There, his face changed and his clothes became dazzling white. At that moment, Elijah made another dramatic entrance. He, along with Moses, “appeared in glorious splendor,” talking with the transfigured Christ (Luke 9:31).
A blessing hidden – and held out
Only God knows where we’ll see the spirit and power of Elijah next. But the New Testament appearances suggest: We don’t have to wait until the final fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy at the end of the age. John the Baptist walked in the Elijah blessing, and John lived before Jesus died and rose again and before the Holy Spirit was poured out. We live in the wake of resurrection and Pentecost. What’s more, no matter how epic Elijah’s life may seem, Scripture declares, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are” (James 5:17).
My beloved, you’re a human being, even as Elijah was. I am well able to do in and through you what I did in and through him. I’ve made every provision for you to experience what Elijah did, and more. I, the Son, am risen. I, the Spirit, have been poured out. And I, your Father, love giving you good gifts. Especially, I love blessing you, and sending you, so that you bless others’ lives. We who are the One hold out to you this blessing – the blessing of an undivided heart.