Don’t Stay Under The Juniper Tree

1 Kings 19:4 – But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

We will all come to the point where we will say it is enough. This mighty prophet of God came to this point, and this gives us hope, it happens to all of us. Elijah slept under a juniper tree. He, like us, can curl up in a ball and give up. Life can become too big for us. Too hard for us. The mountain can loom large before us. The Bible records the day when Jesus entered a boat with the disciples and said, Let us go over to the other side. It was going so well. They had just heard the sermon on the mount, nothing could knock them down. But the Bible says, And there arose a great storm. God brings storms into our lives to test our faith. To humble us. We have to first be pulled down to be built up. And it is God that lifts us up.

It is enough. We can say to God, enough. This comes from our own reasoning, our own understanding of what is happening around us and to us. The Bible says lean not unto thine own understanding. For the believer faced with the challenge of walking through a world that he does no longer belong in, there will be many times we come to the juniper tree. The juniper tree is a place of our own understanding, our own rationalizing, our own wisdom, our own imaginations. We arrive here when we take our eyes of the Lord. Peter began to sink when he saw the boisterous waves. He took his eyes of the Lord and began to sink. We need to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, As the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believe in him may not perish, but have everlasting life. We look to Jesus to be saved, we look to Jesus after we are saved. It never stops. We never outgrow Jesus. We never come to a point of independency. We never do not need him anymore. We are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones, we are married to Christ spiritually, we need him, and he loves us and is always there for us. He is faithful, even when we are unfaithful. He loves us, when we stop loving him. We truly are the weaker vessel.

Elijah sat under the juniper tree. And then Elijah slept under the juniper tree. He came to a point of complete hopelessness. He was emptied of himself. And this is when God moved in his life. God provided food for him. God gave him rest. The Bible says that we have a merciful high priest. Jesus is compassionate towards us. He knows our frame, he remembers that we are but dust. He suffered, he became a man, so that he could experience what we experience. Jesus wept. Jesus partook in our sufferings. He knows what we feel like. He knows our weaknesses. Jesus can have compassion, because he walked the earth as one of us. The Bible says the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. It also says, And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten Father, full of grace and truth. Jesus overcame. He defeated Satan. Where man fell into sin, Jesus lived a perfect sinless life. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He bore our sin on himself. We cannot understand it. We can only believe it.

The angel said to Elijah, the journey is too great for thee. This is so true. The journey through life is too great for us in our own strength. Try and make it through life in your own strength. You won’t make it. Try to make it to heaven your own way. You won’t make it. We can pride ourselves on our independence. But we are never, ever truly independent, even when we hate God, even when we disobey God. He sends rain on the just and the unjust. He gives you the very breath that you use to deny him. He can add and take away. Your health can be taken away in a heartbeat. Your life can be snatched from the earth any second. We are never truly in control of anything. For the believer, we need spiritual meat and drink for the journey at hand. Read your Bible, eat the words, they are our life. Job said, I have esteemed thy words more than my necessary food. Spiritual food is more important to us than physical food, and yet so often we will skip reading our Bible, we will skip prayer, we will skip fellowshipping with and worshipping our Saviour. Even though this is what will get us through this life. In one of the many wars that  Israel had with the Philistines, Jonathan found honey in the forest and it gave him strength in the battle. We need the honey. The honey of God’s word, which brings spiritual enlightenment. Which brings joy. And the joy of the Lord is our strength. Understanding and drawing near to God brings us joy. The Bible says that the sons of God shouted for joy when God laid the foundations of the earth.

The Bible says that Elijah went in the strength of the meat that the angel gave him for forty days and forty nights to Mount Horeb. God’s word. God’s power. The power is in the word. The power is in our faith in the word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The word of God is our meat. The gospel strengthens us. Peace with God. And God with us. Elijah saw at Mount Horeb that God was in control. Even though the circumstances of life seemed irreparable and too great for Elijah. Elijah heard the still small voice. God was not in the mighty wind, the earth moving earthquake, the inferno of fire. There was a still small voice. God is greater than whatever life throws at us. There arose a great storm. The disciples awoke Jesus in a panic, Carest thou not that we perish? And Jesus rebuked the wind and said, Peace be still. He then said to the disciples, How is it that you have no faith? And there was a great calm. Elijah experienced this calm at Horeb. The disciples experience the calm on the Sea of Tiberias. Will you experience the calm? No matter what problem you are in, no matter what life has thrown you, you can have the peace of God in your heart. Things can seem desperate, hopeless, out of control, but if you turn your eyes to Jesus, if you believe and trust him, if you lean on him and not your own understanding, there will be a great calm in your life.

You must be saved to have peace with God. There is no circumventing that step. After you are saved, there will be storms in your life. God will prove you. Have faith in the storm. There will be a great calm. You will know the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

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