Touched by an Angel [Part 2]

By Alan Wright — January 18, 2019

Are you ready for some good news?

There is a great God-given journey in front of you.

Today’s Text: “And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.’ And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” (1 Kings 19:7–8, ESV)

Elijah had defeated 450 prophets at Mt. Carmel, proven Yahweh the one, true God and established himself as Israel’s mighty, miracle-working prophet. But when the pagan queen Jezebel threatened him, Elijah ran for his life and fell into despair. How human all the great heroes of God are!

To cure his despair, God sent an angel to minister to the prophet. The heavenly messenger touched him and gave him an odd word: “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” At first, it’s hard to see the encouragement in the angel’s words. What’s so encouraging about reminding a tired prophet that he has a long way still to go?

I once heard of a seminarian who continually announced, “I will go far in the ministry.” His classmates tired of hearing the refrain, “I will go far…. I will go far….” Finally, someone asked the confident student: “Why do you say that all the time? Are you arrogant or what?”

The seemingly boastful student responded: “I’m just repeating what all my professors tell me. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times – they all tell me, ‘Son, you have a long way to go.’ ”

If you have a long way to go it means you will go far!

The angel didn’t encourage the depressed prophet with bumper sticker clichés. Instead, God’s messenger strengthened Elijah with deep truth. The truth is, Elijah, you have a long way to go. Your ministry isn’t over. There are more miracles to be wrought through you, and your most important task lies ahead. You’ll transfer your mantle to Elisha who will be used for twice as many miracles as you. It’s a long road. It’s a hard road. But God will be with you. Arise and eat. You have a long way to go.

When you face discouragement in life, you need spiritual nourishment and deep assurance that there is more ahead. Though you may feel weary today and the journey in front of you seems daunting, the assurance that you’re not finished yet is revitalizing.  Arise and eat – you have a long way to go. And that’s the Gospel!

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