Ravens and the ProphetThe Call to Intimacy with God
Have you ever wondered how the Lord trained His servants for their hard and difficult callings? So many of the finest Scriptural characters make their appearance on the pages of history ‘fully-fledged’ in their calling. There are tantalisingly few direct pointers to guide us to the hidden processes by which the Lord prepared men such as Amos, Isaiah and Elijah for their demanding ministry. My desire to learn more about the way God equips His people led me to take a closer look at the life of one of the greatest of all the prophets: Elijah the Tishbite.
Mention the name of Elijah and all manner of stirring images spring to mind: drought and fire, rank despair and triumphal faith, tyrants humbled and God exalted. True, we will find no book in Scripture named after Elijah: no grand schemes for reforming Temple Worship or mighty visions of the future. Even the number of times we see him ‘in action’ is limited, but the impact he made on friend and foe alike was deep and lasting. The few words we hear from his lips resonate with passion and insight, spanning the intervening centuries with a clarion-call that demands our fullest attention.
The more we meditate on the life of this man whom God considered worthy to appear with the Lord Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, the more we will see how much the whole tenor of Elijah’s life, as well as the message he brought from the Lord, has to say to our spiritually directionless generation.
For if at first Elijah appears so full of holy fire that he towers above lesser mortals, a closer study will reassure us. Elijah’s intimacy with God – and perhaps his weaknesses too – will surprise and inspire rather than intimidate us.
The message God entrusted to Elijah contains a prophetic challenge for our own generation. I have endeavoured to communicate the heart of this in such a way that it leads not just to greater ‘head’ knowledge, but to a greater closeness to the Lord Himself. I have been more concerned to communicate certain spiritual insights, therefore, than to write a textual commentary. The Elijah narrative offers an outstanding springboard for developing our intimacy with God, and the tone of this publication lies midway, therefore, between the prophetic and the devotional.
The Call to Intimacy with God
Scripture offers us no direct glimpse of Elijah’s early years, but we are given one clue. His first recorded utterance reveals that he ‘stood before the Lord.’ Hidden within these simple words lies the key not only for understanding Elijah’s ministry, but for all who would follow in his footsteps.
Centuries before, the Lord had called Abraham His friend, spoken face to face with Moses, and described David as a man after his own heart. Now, in the obscurity of a remote mountain village, the Lord spent many years drawing Elijah deeper into His presence.
To be designated as a mouthpiece for the Lord God Almighty is the highest of all callings. Long before exposing him to the perils of public ministry, God had been at work, scoring His burden deeply into his heart and alerting him to the great peril that faced the nation.
To reach the mountain peaks, it is necessary first to pass through the foothills. In a sense, I have been more concerned in this publication to explore the foothills that lead to the mountain ranges than with the summits themselves. This dimension of hidden training is therefore an important aspect of living in the spirit and power of Elijah.
Ravens and the Prophet is an invitation to understand more of the God who supplies and provides for His people in the most imaginative ways, and who speaks to us through His living Word.
So far as is possible, I have made each chapter complete in itself, whilst alluding in the references to a wealth of Biblical verses and other spiritual texts. If the little word ‘Selah’ that we come across so often in the Psalms is, as many suppose it to be, an exhortation to ‘Pause and Pray,’ may you enjoy many rich moments with the Lord through the prayers and meditations at the end of each section.
Who knows what the Lord may have to show you as a result of spending those times in His presence?
Who knows what the Lord may have to show you as a result of spending those times in His presence? May the wisdom that you glean through these times of reflection remain as a precious and abiding part of your walk with the Lord.
This is the Introduction to the whole publication Ravens and the Prophet. As chapters are published, the index below will become live and linked.
Chapter One – The Courts of the Lord
Chapter Two – The Hidden Life
Chapter Three – By the Brook Cherith
Chapter Four – The Shrinking Brook
Chapter Five – Strange Guidance
Chapter Six – The Provision of the Lord
Chapter Seven – In the Power of the Spirit
Chapter Eight – The Stature of Waiting
Chapter Nine – Interfacing with the World
Chapter Ten – Fire on Mount Carmel
Chapter Eleven – The Ministry of Heaven
Chapter Twelve – The Importance of Rest
Chapter Thirteen – Strategic Retreat or Headlong Flight
Chapter Fourteen – Shock and Shame
Chapter Fifteen – The Temptation to Despair
Chapter Sixteen – Angelic Restoration
Chapter Seventeen – Confronted with God’s Challenge
Chapter Eighteen – Symbols of His Power
Chapter Nineteen – The Dark Speech of God
Chapter Twenty – The Judgements of God
Chapter Twenty One – When My People are one
Chapter Twenty Two – A Heart of Mourning
Chapter Twenty Three –
The Prophetic Ministry
Part One – May our Hearts be free from idols
Part Two – The Prophetic Calling
Part Three – Prophets and Pastors
Chapter Twenty Four – The Challenging Counterfeit
Chapter Twenty Five –
The Schools of the Prophets
Chapter Twenty Six – Translated to Eternity