Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” – Romans 11:2b-4
In reading Romans 11 this morning I noticed something very interesting and very true about me. I am often like Elijah in this passage. My perception, while real to me and my circumstances, is often false. Elijah perceived things that for him seemed true – he was the last faithful prophet and believer left in Israel. When Elijah thought and said this, his life was in danger. Jezebel has threatened to kill him for what happened to the prophets of Baal the day before (1 Kings 18-19). But in running for his life, Elijah let his emotions get the best of him and his perception became warped. His emotions got the best of him. His perception of being the only faithful believer left in Israel was not true. The Lord had preserved another 7000 people who still had not bowed their knee to the false god Baal.
How often do we do the same thing as Elijah. We assume our perspective is true, therefore we act in ways that align with our perceived truth. In our mind, we gather facts from experiences, observations, and conversations, then we make our conclusions. From our conclusions we act out what we believe to be true. Sometimes this is a good thing. I mean as humans, what else are we to do? But sometimes, I could even say often, instead of living confident in the Lord we run for our lives (if I use the example of Elijah). Sometimes we hear a comment from a person, and it can change the course of our thinking and living. Even though God has revealed to us in His word and we know the comment we heard must be out of context, we believe it anyway and being living on presumptions rather than truth. Our reality becomes a false one, based upon bad perception. When we do this it can cause us to cut or change relationships, stop serving the Lord, glorify self (as Elijah did, “I only am left”), and hurt others by our living in reaction to false thinking.
I am so thankful when God opens my eyes and confronts my false perception with His eternal truth. (“I have 7000 others”). It shows His love for me in that He wants me thinking and living in truth. He knows I cannot properly serve and worship Him while living according to false presumption. It also shows me His grace. I do not deserve His intervention into my stupid and sinful thinking. I am a sinner and think and believe sinful things. He owes me nothing. Yet, in His grace He reaches down from heaven and out to a broken heart and heals my false and sinful mind by opening my eyes to real truth. His truth. Thank you Lord for reaching down and pulling me out of the trap of my false perceptions, and revealing to me Yourself and showing me Your truth. Help me to rest in the shadow of Your wings. Rescue me from my arrogance and self-glorification.