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I’ve been doing the YouVersion® One Year Bible plan this year as I’m not really used to devotionals and I’ve kinda gotten myself unused to it. So I’m at the part where Elijah the Tishbite enters the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Judah in the first book of Kings chapter 18 after he had called down fire on the water-soaked and entrenched sacrifice on Mount Carmel. Prior to this time in Chapter 17:1, he had decreed there would not be rain on the land till his say so and so it was. Then in Chapter 18:42, the Bible records he puts himself in a posture of prayer which doesn’t look comfortable to me! He then sends his servant in verse 43 to go and look toward to the sea.
I love the Message Translation of verses 43-45: “Then he said to his young servant, “On your feet now! Look toward the sea.” He went, looked and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.” “Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.” And sure enough , the seventh time he said, “Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea. . . The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain.“
And after reading and thinking about this, I got this impression of the 7-times tries recorded in the Bible before any results were seen. People had acted on GOD’s instructions and even though it looked like nothing was happening from the first till the sixth time, they kept at it, till they received their breakthroughs, till they saw the manifested promises of GOD. Two other illustrations of this came to mind:
Second example: The story of Naaman in 2nd Kings 5:9-14, where Elisha told him to go to the Jordan river to dip himself in the river 7 times to be cured of his leprosy. Although he initially protested, his servant persuaded him to obey. The Bible records in verse 14 that it was after he had dipped the 7th time, “his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
Third example: The children of Israel marched around the wall of Jericho for 7 days, one time each day and in silence, and 7 times on the 7th day rounded up with a shout, before the wall “fell down flat“, see Joshua 6:12-21.
You probably can think of more examples in the Bible about this, but these are enough, I believe to teach and remind us of the need for resilience in everything GOD has given us instructions for or to do. Once it’s GOD that has given the OK, even though at the beginnings of carrying out the assignments, it seems like we’re failing already or there’s nothing to show for our efforts (I’m not sure which is worse…lol), we must keep persevering. GOD who gives the assignments has provided the resources to see us through to the accomplishing of those tasks.
You and I must try ‘it’ (whatever out ‘it’ might be) at least 7 times¹ with the same level of effort, zeal, commitment, passion and attention, as at the first time before we can think of passing on the baton or the the ‘it’ did not work. This is even more important when we’re on a GOD-ordained mission and it seems things are not changing in line with our expectations.
NEVER GIVE UP! DON’T GIVE UP ON GOD!! HE IS MORE THAN ABLE!!
Like Elijah told his servant, keep looking, seven times if necessary, even when you don’t see a thing! There’s a sound of abundance of rain! HALLELUYAH!!
¹Seven times is the least number of times we should try on GOD-given instructions. Remember ‘7’ is said to to be the number of perfection.
To your persistence in GOD, . . .