Evil Forces United Against You? God’s Power Is On the Way

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”  Isaiah 59:19

What is the most serious problem you have ever faced?

Have you ever noticed that when the challenges you face are more severe, or the evil that confronts you appears more aggressive, that the power and love of God appear more tangibly to bring you to victory?

This has certainly been true for me on more than one occasion.  Many years ago a co-worker seemed intent on discrediting me and undermining everything I stood for.  It was very divisive to the work environment, to say the least.  It was one of the most challenging experiences I have ever dealt with.  But God brought me through it with lessons of humility, love, and forgiveness for everyone involved–including myself for the mistakes I had made in the process.

The Bible is full of examples of God’s supreme power to deliver us.

I was reading in I Kings the other day and couldn’t help notice how things were going from bad to worse.  The Children of Israel had forsaken God, the Kings of Israel were each more wicked than the one before them in being disobedient to God.  But then King Ahab sins the greatest sin yet when he not only disregards Gods commandments as those before him did, but he marries a Baal worshiper, builds a temple to Baal and erects an altar for Baal.

It is just at this precise moment of Ahab’s ultimate, willful disobedience to God that Elijah bursts upon the scene with his staunch stand for the one true God of Israel.   In fact, the name “Elijah” means “my God is Jehovah.”   When the ultimate evil appears, God sends the ultimate spiritual answer.

Elijah understood his relationship to God.

The amazing thing to me is how close Elijah was to God.  He knew God so intimately, that he heard His voice and obeyed His directions without question.  How often do we do that?  Yes, sometimes we do.  But if you’re like me, you have fallen short of that high goal on more occasions than you’d like to admit.

Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do?

Well, it happened to Elijah too.  More than once.

While he was staying with the widow at Zarephath, for whom he had provided an unending supply of oil and meal during a famine, her son died.   And she accused Elijah of causing her son’s death.  Forget the fact that Elijah had been providing the means to survive the famine that was in the land.

In response Elijah prays, “And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, has thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?”  (I Kings 17:20)

Elijah is not asking God if He took the son’s life.  What an absurdity!  It’s as if Elijah is saying, “Oh Lord my God, You have provided sustenance and life for this widow and her son.  Is it possible You could also take away his life?

Notice the word “also” in the above verse.  God has sent good.  Can He also send evil?  According to James 3:12 the answer is no; “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Once again, when the challenge was the severest (the death of the son), the power of God was stronger.  And it was present and  to bring healing.

Of course God is always present in all His power to help, heal, and guide us.  What was the difference here?

Elijah knew God and he knew his relationship to God.  Do we?

He prayed to God to restore the son.  It was not a pleading prayer.  It was not guesswork.

Elijah was coming from a place of confidence in God’s supreme nature and ability to restore life.  Elijah was certain God could restore the lad.  Why would he have prayed for such a thing if he did not believe it?

He was acting with he same kind of authority that Jesus expressed.  This authority was not confidence in himself or his own personal abilities.  It was total confidence in God’s abilities.

And of course the lad was restored to life.

So when the forces of evil seem united in all their fury upon you, your loved ones, your church, your business, or whatever, it simply means that the mighty power of God is about to be made manifest in your life.

What you can do in the mean time?

Get to know God–better and better and better.  Become as close to God as you can.  Commune with Him.  Know how precious you are in His sight.  Feel His presence in all you do.  Be strong and stand with Elijah for the one and only God Almighty.

These are easy words to say, but it takes a deep inner desire and discipline to do this.

But you are able to do whatever God had prepared you for.  That is God’s promise.

Blessings,

James

 

 

  • Amy Duncan

    Thanks for this powerful message, James.

  • James Early

    Amy, glad is was helpful.

  • http://amrmfic@comcast.net Anne Marie Raftery

    This month’s reflection drew me into God’s dynamic presence in and among us. Yes, our
    relationship with God is that personal garden that we each live in and care for continuously
    in all seasons.

    Thank you.

  • James Early

    I love the idea of our relationship to God is like a garden. That’s beautiful. Thanks Anne Marie.

  • http://alewebsocial.com Tara Alemany

    Hi, James. Great post. I am currently in one of those times of my life when it seems that everything is aligned against me. So, I can relate to your story here. But what I love most when I think of Elijah is that, even though his faith was strong, there were times when he was afraid and felt helpless as well. It allows me to give myself the grace to recognize my struggles, knowing that my faith is strong, but “this hurts.” And that’s okay to feel. He doesn’t expect us to smile through the pain. He just wants us to lean on Him as we go through it.

  • James Early

    Tara, Thanks for your insights. You’re right. Elijah had amazing seasons of victory, but he also experienced the depths of despair. So it’s not surprising this is going to happen to us. Some people blame God when bad things happen to them. But your last point is the key: We have to lean on God as we go THROUGH the challenges we face. He is the one helping us. And I think the struggles we have are a blessing in disguise IF we turn to God for assistance and guidance. We give up dependence on ours own and others’ abilities and rely more strongly on Him. And in the process we get to know Him better. I had a friend who used to say when she had problem, “Okay God, how can I get to know You better in this situation?” God bless you Tara. God is sending His angels to gather out the tares from your life. There may be some thrashing around as they cut out the tares and separate them from the wheat. But God is there with you each step of the way.

  • http://alewebsocial.com Tara Alemany

    Hi, James. I definitely know that He is there each step of the way. But I often think of it in terms of a parent with their toddler.

    When a child first learns to walk, his parent holds his hands, helping him keep his balance and encouraging him (if not coaxing him) to take the next step. So it is early in a faith walk, where everything seems so wonderfully new and exciting, and God feels so incredibly close.

    Then, as the child gains more confidence and is ready to take those first steps on their own, the parent hold his hands more loosely until finally they let go of his hands altogether. They’re always ready to catch him if he falls, but they’re giving him the chance to grow and explore on his own.

    Sometimes as we face challenges, I think God’s presence is more easily felt than at others, and that’s dependent on how tightly we’re holding on to the situation. With my current struggle, God chose to take something away that I deeply wanted. The pain I feel is directly related to how hard it is for me to let it go, and trust that His plan is better than mine was. I believe that it is, but until I let go of my plan, I can’t be fully aligned with His.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting insights and conversation!

  • James Early

    Tara, Thanks you for your deep sincerity. I know what you mean about having to let go of things we want. God wants our whole heart and we don’t always realized how divided our loyalties can be. I thank God for Hid mercy and grace and patience more and more all the time. So just keep being God’s little toddler. I love that imagery. We all need that.