June 21

1 Kings 18:17-18 (NIV) 17When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?" 18"I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the Lord's commands and have followed the Baals.

Elijah has been in hiding for three years. Wicked king Ahab searched the nations for him. The drought was so severe that it was destroying the kingdom. When God sent Elijah to meet with the king, the king called him, "the troubler of Israel" Amazing how the world sees the saint as the evil one. There is a cry in some societies today against "the intolerant Christians". There will always be a cry against the righteous who stand for integrity and truth. As long as you represent the LORD, and hold Him as the standard, the world will hate you and blame you for the troubles that stem from the judgments of God. Elijah had come to bring the mercy of God in the form of rain.

He set the record straight when he told Ahab that it was he and his family that were the cause of the trouble in Israel. Why? They have abandoned the LORD's commands and followed Baal. If God allowed rain when the people looked to Baal for it, He would be encouraging them to have faith in a lie. The mercy of God withheld the rain. The guilty often point their finger at the very ones who are trying to bring the grace and mercy of God into a situation.

There are times when a brother will bring us a harsh word. We must determine whether there is validity in it, or if we are being attacked for our integrity. A heart that is soft toward God will soon know the difference. Ahab did not have such a heart. I trust, by the grace of God, you and I do.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me stand for truth and righteousness regardless of what the world may call me. Help me to bring your grace into a needy world.

June 21

John 12:32-33 (NIV) 32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Jesus was responding to the Greeks who wanted to talk with Him. The ancients had a fable that spoke of a chain that Jupiter could let down to the earth to draw it and all its inhabitants to himself. It may have been to this image in the Greek mind that He spoke of when He indicated the form of His death. It was not in a display of power but of surrender to the Father, out of love for mankind, that the world would be drawn to Him. Even now, the drawing power of the cross reaches into our hearts and speaks of love that is greater than we dare dream.

The power of the cross, that says God loves me enough to give His only Son, draws us out of our fear and the selfish demands that we cling to. It is in beholding this love that we find birthed in us a love that draws us out of all that would hold us back from becoming the servants of such a loving King.

Jesus knew the death that awaited Him. He saw it in the Scriptures. He heard it from the Father. He warned His disciples so as to lessen the shock that it would have on their faith. How could they understand that this would be the expression of love that would draw all men to Him? The sooner we learn to trust in that love combined with the power of His sovereignty over all things, the sooner we will rest in the peace it offers us. There we are drawn ever closer.

Consider: Are you allowing yourself to be drawn to Him?