2 Kings 2:14-15
14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.
15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.
You have wearied the LORD with your words;
Yet you say,
“In what way have we wearied Him?”
In that you say,
“Everyone who does evil
Is good in the sight of the LORD,
And He delights in them,”
Or, “Where is the God of justice?”
2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
“Where is God?” is the weary refrain of the non-believers – and often the complaint of the believers, too. Elisha barely had any time with his teacher Elijah before the mantle was literally left to him, and so Elisha had reason to wonder if he had indeed received his “double portion” of the Spirit that had enabled Elijah to do wondrous things. So when Elisha asks “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” he is asking an almost rhetorical question, in faith knowing that he will have his answer when the waters part – which, of course, they did. “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” Right here with you.
And yet, like the Psalmist, still we ask, “My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O LORD–how long?” (Psalms 6:3) How long will You tolerate man’s rebellion and defiance? How long will You wait to punish man’s denial of You? Where are You when Your glory could easily cure man of his pridefulness and enmity? Where are You, Lord God, when Your children suffer? Where were You when Your Son was being nailed to a tree?
And yet we never ask “Where is God?” when we view a sunset. We never ask where He is when we behold our children for the first time. We never doubt His presence when we hear a lovely choir singing His praises. We never stop to wonder where He is when we gaze at the glories of the night sky. “The heavens declare the glory of God” says the Psalmist (Psalms 19:1), and we believe that without thinking.
Our society is double-minded about God. On the one hand we claim to be believers, lay claim to the label “Christian” or “Muslim” or “Jew,” and say we believe in the Lord God of Abraham and Elijah. And then with our other hand we sin and covet and deny our Maker with nearly every act we perform. We say He is holy and yet deny His desire to make us holy. We say He is loving, and yet we practice love and hate in unequal measure. We say He is moral, and yet we embrace immorality and say “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them.” Does He? Does He delight in the sinner while the sinner denies His power and sovereignty? Does God believe that everyone is good at heart? The Bible – the written Word of God – says “there is none who does good” (Psalms 14:3) and that we are all born in sin. (Psalms 51:5) How then can the Lord delight in us?
Yes, it is true that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to save us all. It is also true that the Lord extends His mercy AND His justice to all. He does this so that those who seek His Son shall find Him and have eternal life, and so that those who deny Him shall be cast into “the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) It is the defiant ones who ask “Where is God?” even as they deny His existence. They would rather not think about the likelihood – no, the TRUTH – of a Holy God so loving and so terrible, so worthy of love and so worthy of fear, so gracious and so just. And then when the chips are down and men face the consequences of their own sinfulness – pride, envy, malice, greed – they ask why God did not prevent them from suffering. Is God your nursemaid, to prevent you from every stumble and fall? Is God your warden, to imprison you in His will? Is God at your beck and call, simply because you don’t want to face the consequences of your own actions? Such an attitude not only belittles God, it belittles man, whom He made “a little lower than the angels” and to have dominion over the works of His hands. (Psalms 8:5-6)
As James said, we do not receive God’s blessings because we do not ask for the right reasons. We deny His sovereignty over our lives even as we ask Him to bless us. We promote sinfulness – or, worse yet, avoid doing what we can to prevent evil – and then we wonder why God isn’t doing more for us. For US? And what have we done for HIM? HE gave HIS SON! What have you or I given?!?
Where is the LORD God of Elijah? He is right here with us, watching and caring and loving even as we deny Him and His holiness. He is in the dew on the grass and the smile of a stranger. He is in the love we have for our families and the hand we extend to the oppressed. He is in the parting of the waters and the stillness of the night. He is in fiery punishment for the unholy and in the bleeding hands of our Savior. Where is God?
1 John 4:12-16
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Loving God and Father, only You are holy and just, only You are so merciful to overlook our sin and rebellion. Only You deserve our worship and our praise. And especially today, Lord God, to You alone we give thanks for Your amazing grace. Amen.