Neisha-Ann Thompson, Ph.D

"Give me a Word to sustain the weary; awaken my ear to listen." - Isaiah 50:4

Tag: timing

Go Look Again!

… At the top of the mountain, Elijah bent down. He put his head between his knees. Then Elijah said to his servant, “Go up higher and look toward the sea.” The servant went and looked. He came back and said, “I saw nothing.” Elijah told him to go look again. This happened seven times. The seventh time, the servant came back and said, “I saw a small cloud the size of a man’s fist…” – 1 Kings 18:42b-44.

Let me start this blog off by saying I completely understand how it is possible for us to focus more on the past and the present, than the future. Although this is not the healthiest way to live, many of us have lived, and are living, on the intersection of Back Then Street and What Now Avenue. The fact is, we sometimes spend more time mourning (or reminiscing) what COULD HAVE been and what WAS, mainly because we see no sign/evidence of what WILL BE. Some of us feel that our “best years” are behind us because our present looks dim and our future nonexistent. We are encouraged to “keep hope alive”, but it feels like hope has long been pronounced dead and is laying in a grave in some forgotten cemetery.

I can imagine that this may have been how Elijah’s servant was feeling. They were in the 3rd year of drought and famine (1 Kings 18:1-2), with no indication of when the situation would change. The fields were dry and bare, and the livestock malnourished and near dead, if not already dead. And it is in the midst of this DRY and DEAD situation that God sends Elijah to prophesy that the DROUGHT will end. There are some critical life lessons from this passage that I don’t want you to miss:

1. God’s declarations over your life will often contradict your present dilemma.

Elijah’s servant was being told that rain was coming, but all he saw around him was desolation and barrenness. This tells us that we can’t get too attached to what our natural eyes see, because God is able to speak the very opposite of our reality into existence. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, feels like, or how it has always been – when God says “I’m about to change something in your life”, start looking for the manifestation! We know we can trust His Word because it’s His “Let There Be” from Genesis 1 that continues to hold our universe in place today. His Word has sustaining and life-giving power!

2. Elijah didn’t have to go look himself.

When you are assured of the Word that God has given you, you’re not preoccupied with trails of evidence. Elijah sent his servant to look because the servant needed to see, in order to believe. Taking it a step further, I’d argue that Elijah’s very posture (bent down with head between his knees – vs 42) was indicative of his expectation of rain. Catch that!

3. Sometimes it may take up to seven times.

Elijah told his servant to go up and look for rain “seven more times” (vs 43) before he saw anything. Recognize that God sometimes causes us to repeat actions that seem purposeless, to literally put our faith in action. Each time that servant went to look, was an act of faith that was building and preparing him for what God was about to do. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated by the things you’ve had to repeat… they’re flexing your faith muscles and preparing you for a blessing that you will not have room to receive!

4. It may not look like what you’re expecting.

After praying like crazy for something to happen, we have an image in our minds of what it should look like when it comes to pass. This may cause us to miss what God is doing. The Bible says all the servant saw was a small cloud (the size of a man’s hand – vs 44); it never said he felt or even saw rain. But that small cloud was enough to confirm that God was about to do what He said He would (vs 45).

In this season, you’re just going to have to take God at His Word! It may not happen at the time you expect it to or in the way you expect it to, but if He promised you rain, then expect rain! At times we treat God like we know Him to be a liar or like He has never come through for us before. It’s time to truly trust what He’s spoken over your life; and His Word for you in this season is – “Go Look Again!

Prayer: Lord, we thank You in advance for the rain of Your presence and power! Back in Genesis 1, everything You spoke into existence was immediately formed. Help us to recognize that You are that SAME God; and that even though the manifestation may be delayed, You’ve already done what You said You would. Help us to trust You in this season, regardless of what our natural eyes see. We assume Elijah’s position in the Spirit today – head buried between our knees – anticipating a torrential downpour in our lives. Thank You for the formation of the clouds even now. Drench us we pray. Amen.

YIC,

Neisha

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=05CAhFpnrvc

Jacob’s Voice, But Esau’s Skin

“…The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau…. And he did not recognize him….so he blessed him.” – Genesis 27:22-23

This chapter in the book of Genesis details the story of how a mother (Rebekah) plotted and schemed with her younger son to deceive his father (her husband). The story highlights the importance of the gift of discernment and the act of waiting to be confirmed when we are unsure of a decision or feel pressured into making a rushed decision. Let’s examine some of the lessons from this story that will help guide us when making critical life decisions.

Don’t Bless (Cosign/Condone/Engage In) What You Don’t Recognize

The Bible says “Isaac did NOT recognize Jacob… SO he blessed him…” (vs 23). Sounds absurd doesn’t it? Yet, you and I have been guilty of the very same thing at one point in our lives or another. How many times in life have we proceeded with a decision or an act, in the midst of painful uncertainty, crippling doubt, or lack of peace? It is evident that Isaac was unsure of his decision because even after blessing Jacob (thinking it was Esau), he asked him, “Are you really my son Esau?” (vs 24). There are times that God will warn us of deception in our lives, but we ignore the Spirit’s promptings and proceed anyway. Why? Most times it’s because we’re afraid (afraid of missing out on a “good” opportunity; afraid of losing something we value; afraid of disappointing others; afraid of failure; and the list goes on).

Decisions That Are Truly Spirit-Led Are Never Made From A Place Of Fear

Isaac feared that he would die before blessing his firstborn (vs 2-4), so he rushed ahead despite his doubts. If fear is driving your decisions, recognize that you are playing right into the hands of the enemy, as fear is his most prominent tool. The Bible says “God has not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7), neither is God the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). So, if it is God who is leading you to make a certain decision, EVERY Word HE sends will serve to confirm or clarify His will, not confuse it. If there is contradiction, that simply means we need to wait to be confirmed by His peace before proceeding.

Use ALL Your Senses

Another very important decision-making lesson from this passage is found in verse 1, which tells us that “Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see”. Sight is one of the five senses that God has given us to help connect us to the world. Furthermore, spiritual sight (vision/discernment) is especially needed as we connect with the world and navigate life situations. ALL your spiritual senses must be in tune when making critical decisions. If you’re not hearing God clearly, or you can’t see exactly what He’s showing you; if something smells “fishy”, tastes “off”, or doesn’t feel right…. Do not proceed! Wait for the Holy Spirit to confirm what it is that He wants you to do. One very important lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years is simply this – When the skin feels like Esau, but the voice sounds like Jacob, do not proceed! Wait to be confirmed by God’s peace!

Check your circle

Finally, be careful of the manipulators and deceivers that are closely connected to you. It was Rebekah’s (Jacob’s own mother’s) idea to trick Isaac (vs 5-10). Recognize that as humans we are innately selfish; and people, in wanting their own needs met, don’t mind deceiving you in the process. You need people around you who: have your best interests at heart, have the right motives, and will hold you accountable to God’s Word and will for your life. Ask God for wisdom and discernment to reveal the people in your circle.

Prayer: Lord, we want to make decisions that align with Your will for our lives. Help us to not be deceived by the enemy or misguided by people. We recognize that the enemy cannot stop your will, so sometimes he tries to cause us to rush ahead because he knows that TIMING with You is EVERYTHING. We cannot separate Your will from Your timing. Speak to our hearts today Lord; unite our spiritual senses; and guide us by Your undeniable peace. Amen.

YIC,

Neisha

Don’t Extend What Has Expired

God is such a God of timing that it’s impossible to operate in His will… outside of His time. The two are inseparable.

Reflecting on Exodus 16:19-21 and how God’s blessing/provision turned into something harmful when it was extended past its expiration date/season. It has me pondering the many situations I’ve dealt with that I single-handedly dragged way beyond their end-point. Like, what if God has to cause things to literally disintegrate in order to prevent us from “consuming” (continuing to engage in) them?

The Israelites could have died from the overnight (expired) manna. And the funny thing is, just like us today, they KNEW God had more (other) provisions for them, but they doubted that and tried to hold on to past/outdated “stuff” for fear of not having anything (i.e. losing all). What will it take to really bring us to that place of complete obedience and trust in God’s promises and directives? What does He have to allow worms and stench (Exodus 16:20) to consume in order for us to let it go?

Prayer: Lord, please don’t let me die from outdated “manna”. Do whatever it takes to prevent me from “consuming” it.

YIC,
Neisha

© 2020 Neisha-Ann Thompson, Ph.D

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