Our blind spot, when we speak God's truth, is not in thinking that His Word doesn't apply to us, but in believing that we are so righteous that we've somehow escaped it. This is precisely the trap that the prophet Elijah did not fall into. But...how could he not?
How is it that Elijah understood, when he spoke that word to King Ahab, that he, too, would suffer the effects of the drought? How is it that he didn't believe that God was going to follow him around with his own personal rain cloud and water the ground under his prophetic feet?
Simply put, Elijah kept in his vision what we often lose sight of - that as a man of God, as a person of God, he was forever and always an inextricable part of the people of God. He was never apart from the community of God's people; he was always deeply embedded into it.
This is the thing that our arrogance makes us too easily forget. We think that God put us here so that we could be above His creation, so that we would live a higher life than everyone else on this planet. We think that what we're doing is acting as guides for the rest of this lost word. What we're actually doing is trying to put ourselves in the shoes of "savior" - we think ourselves all high and mighty that it's a step down for us into a community of God's people. That we have to soil ourselves and submit ourselves to get down into the muck and mire of this place and that it's somehow noble of us.
Elijah never forgot that he rose from the dust, not shook it off his feet.
This is the essence of Jesus, right? Jesus came and lived the kind of life that we're supposed to live - not above this world, but right in it. When Jesus gets to Simon's house, one of His complaints is that Simon didn't give Him anything to wash the dirt out of His hair. He'd been walking through the region, traveling down dusty roads for a long time, and Simon didn't pour oil over His head or wash His feet or anything.
Jesus, God Himself, was covered in the dust and dirt of this world and yet, we somehow keep trying to convince ourselves that He never meant for us to be. That God's whole plan for our lives was that we'd never get dirty in this place.
But that's what Elijah never forgot. Elijah never forgot that he was just as bound to the region of Canaan as the rest of God's people. That whatever happened to them happened to him. That when he spoke the truth of God, it wasn't just for them, for everyone else; it was for him, too. He didn't get to escape the drought. He didn't get to bypass the famine.
Now, it's true that he lived a life of miraculous wonders - oil that kept pouring, flour that never ran out, ravens who fed him in the wilderness - but Elijah didn't know any of this when he spoke God's Word. He wasn't counting on it. He might have believed in his heart that God was capable, but he had no promise that God was going to exempt him from the most severe of it. He had no expectation that God should somehow set him apart just because he's the one who spoke the word. He spoke the word anyway, taking one of what he thought would the last sips of water for awhile to wet his tongue to do it. Because he knew - when no rain falls on Israel, I am a prophet who lives in Israel. I'm not just God's person; I'm part of His people. This isn't just their homeland; this is my homeland.
And I'm here for it. All of it. Let the rain (not) fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike.
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