Tuesday, October 13, 2015

hot, or not?

The Word for today:
1 Kings 21
Today, Stand in the Rain will field an excellent question submitted via Facebook:
"What do you make of the 100 prophets (1 Kings 18:4) who hid in the caves? Elijah doesn't even acknowledge them at all. I thought of Revelation 3:15,16-- they were lukewarm, neither hot nor cold... I'm not sure what to make of them."
Good question--because there is no definitive answer that I am aware of.
Elijah stood for God, but he took off on the run from Jezebel, ending up cowering under the broom tree in Beersheba (1). Then God picked the depleted prophet up, visited him in a still, small voice, and put him back into service.
To say that the 100 prophets were lukewarm could be true. But if they were, then Elijah was lukewarm for a while himself. Somehow, "lukewarm" and "Elijah" don't go together.
So I think there is a middle ground to be explored. Perhaps the 100 prophets are amongst the remnant of 7000 whom God extols for not bending the knee to Baal (2).
Thus, in descending order, some varying degrees of faith:
**Elijah--stood alone, but also succumbed to momentary despair.
**The remnant of 7000. Elijah was not aware of them, so they could not have been out front and active. I think Obadiah and the 100 prophets he hid were amongst these. God includes them amongst the faithful.
**The lukewarm of Revelation 3:15-16 are not in any way commended by the Lord Jesus Christ. They are vomited out of his mouth.
We slide on this scale from day to day. I find myself vacillating in my ability to stand on the bare Word of God from season to season. God understands and picks me up when I find myself, so to speak, under the broom tree in Beersheba. He whispers in my ear and sends me back into the front lines of service.
But the last state--the lukewarm condition--is to be avoided at all costs:
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (3)
I know when I'm cold and I know when I'm hot. It's the lukewarm state which deceives us.
So keep the fire burning (2 Timothy 1:6, below) by whatever means we must:
be ever studying God's Word, seriously and systematically;
serve, using the gifts God gave you;
give--of your time, treasure, talents;
love--the LORD your God with all that you are, and your neighbor as yourself.
Without these spiritual exercises, some individuals and churches fall into a lukewarm condition from which there is no recovery. God does not put them back into the ranks of service. He spits them out.
As churches and as individuals, we are either fading or gaining at any given moment. Paul's advice is to keep the water boiling hot:
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God." (2 Timothy 1:6)
Are you hot, or not?
(1) 1 Kings 19:4; (2) 1 Kings 19:18; (3) 2 Timothy 3:5

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