The Training Camp of Tishbe

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1 Kings 17:2–4 (NIV)

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”

CONSIDER THIS

It’s interesting isn’t it. The God of heaven and earth tells his prophet to “leave” and “hide.” Remember what I said yesterday about the Bible being the story of the wickedness of the human race and the persistence of almighty God—whose nature and name are love—to pursue us anyway? Well, 1 Kings 17:2–4 is what this scenario looks like. 

Let’s take care to notice something here we may have rushed past. It is this massive concept called transcendent faith. It comes in the first nine words of today’s text, which make up the second verse.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:

How does this happen; the word of the Lord coming to Elijah? It is all at once complex and simple. This is what Tishbe had been about; Elijah’s training ground in learning to hear the word of the Lord. Remember, Tishbe, is the obscure nowhere that becomes the profound somewhere the minute we wake up to the right here, right now reality of our life in the presence of God. For Moses, Tishbe was the back side of the wilderness of Midian. For Jesus, Tishbe was thirty years in Nazareth. For most of us, Tishbe is the place where God patiently waits out our incessant activist mentality to do great things in the world for Jesus so he can train us in the little ways of being in Jesus for the world.

Tishbe is the place where the Spirit takes us into the hidden training camp of transformation—where we learn how to be “acted upon” by God—where we learn the will of God is not about our initiative but the Spirit’s indwelling us. It is the place where we learn to humbly participate rather than boldly taking charge; letting go of our grandiose ambitions and our narcissistic spirituality and becoming like wet clay again on the potter’s wheel. Tishbe is the wilderness sanctuary where we learn to attentively follow Jesus down the trails of transcendent revelation—the simple pathways by which the Word of God comes to us in all the complexities of our lives: the Scriptures, the Spirit, the Creation, and the Church. 

The key is not amping up our activity (i.e., functional religion) in order to get God to do something. The move is consecration—laying down myself right where I am—abandoning that old self to God and receiving this new self from God. Old has gone. New has come. It is showing up just as we are with all that we are and saying, Holy Spirit, I am here to be reoriented and recalibrated in the ways of Jesus; to trade my knowledge in for real knowing, to surrender my initiative and receive your indwelling. I’m tired of running after the word of the Lord. I am ready to let the Word of the Lord come to me. 

Notice though how the training ground of Tishbe has led to another place: The wilderness of testing.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”

I’ll meet you in the Kerith Ravine tomorrow. P.S. It won’t be glamping.  

This is the way—from glory to glory. 

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, thank you for this different kind of word about training. I tend to think being trained by you must be like two-a-day football practices or endless hours in the weight room or running a hundred miles a week. I think it is up to my fervent activity. It tires me to think about it. Something tells me your way has been under my nose for a long time and yet I have missed it. Or maybe I am only now ready for it. I trust you in all that I had to pass through to get to this place. Holy Spirit, lead me in the depth awakening—from one degree of glory to the next. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

What are you gleaning from this path we are on together? How are you growing? Where are you challenged? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I perceive that this mostly involves our total surrender of our life, will, understanding, Spiritual gifting, time, talents and resources to Christ Jesus’s disposal. The words of this contemporary hymn say it all for me: “Take, Lord, receive. My memory, understanding, my entire will! Give me only your LOVE, and your Grace, that’s enough for me! “
    Then pray for God to open the eyes of our heart’s to see where the Father’s already working in our world, and join him there with our labors.

  2. When we try to help God we unintentionally get in His way and hamper what He is doing. My help is a hindrance to God. He recently spoke to me, “Try less, trust more.” I truly want to let go and let Jesus, but I’ve grabbed and clung to the reigns so long that putting them out of my hands is very challenging.

  3. The hardest thing for all of us is letting go of the reins, as the comment above states. And trusting only in God. “…directed the ravens to supply you with food….” Who would be ready for that today? And yet, it happens every day.

    I am in my 70s and my life has had many ups and downs, high ups and low downs. I didn’t realize until about 20 years ago, that God had always provided. Always. Sometimes it was a check in the mail when I had 25 cents in my purse. Sometimes it was a gift of actual food. When I was “high up” it was often a message to look closer at something that wasn’t as it appeared. What amazes me most about our wonderful God is how patient HE is with US. He is always there waiting when we come back. And he is taking care of us even when we aren’t paying attention to Him.

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