It’s For Your Own Good!

Elijah replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” – Jeremiah 19:14-19

“It’s for your own good.” When I heard those words from my parents I knew that the medicine or the thing I had to do was not going to pleasant.  It wasn’t going to be a good experience. In her book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst describes a young boy who was having a bad day. She opens by writing, “Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in his hair. And it got worse…” That’s how I picture Elijah, talking with the Lord. He tried to do what was right. He tried to follow God’s will for his life. Yet, nothing seemed to go his way. Nothing he did seemed to work.

Have you ever felt frustrated with life like Elijah? Have you ever had one of those “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days?” I’m sure you have, since we all do. On those days, we’re tempted to question God. On those days, we’re tempted to wonder if God cares about us. We wonder if God is really in control. If he is, then why are all these bad things happening when I’m trying my best to do what is right?

Elijah felt this way. So God reminded him that he’s always in control. He gave Elijah a list of things to do that would demonstrate God’s control. God showed Elijah that though it seemed like the wicked were winning, there were still true and faithful believers in Israel. The wicked would not win in the end.

God does the same for you and me. He points us back into his Word to remind us how he guides all things for our good. He reminds us how he worked all things, even the events in the life of Elijah, so that his Son, our Savior Jesus, would come at just the right time, in just the right place, so he could live and die and rise for you and me. And if God can work all things for such an important promise as that, then he’ll certainly keep all of his promises to us.

Prayer: Savior God, ever remind us of your loving care and guidance in our lives, especially on our worst days. Amen.

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