Read 1 Kings 17:1-7; 18:1-2
There are two divine commandments here: “Go, hide thyself” and “Go, show thyself!” The first was probably more difficult to obey because Elijah was a fiery prophet who wanted to deliver his message and bring his people back to God. Yet, God took him out of circulation for three and a half years (Ja. 5:17) until His time arrived for judgment.
Why did God “hide” Elijah? There may be many reasons, but certainly the most important is this: He was preparing the prophet for the great contest with Baal on Mount Carmel. During those three and a half years of retirement, Elijah was learning to wait, to pray, and to trust God for every need. Also, he was learning the value of being a blessing to one person. Before he could show himself, the prophet had to hide himself and learn the lessons God had prepared for him.
Too often today God’s people show themselves before they are ready to serve, and then they have to go hide themselves in shame! We are so anxious to serve the Lord that we forget to worship Him. Yet, the success of a man’s public ministry depends on the success of his private fellowship with God. It is fine to go “without the camp” to serve Him (Heb. 13:13), but first we must go within “the veil” to worship Him (Heb. 10:19-20).
If God puts you in hiding for a season, do not fret over it. He is preparing you for an even greater ministry in the days to come.
(Copyright, Warren W. Wiersbe. First appeared in Thoughts for Men on the Move. May not be copied or reproduced without express written permission of the author.)
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).