Today’s Reading: Romans 11
There is a fundamental difference between a pole vaulter and a high jumper. A high jumper runs as fast as he can and leap as high as he can, and if he is good, he can get about seven-and-a-half feet. If he wants the world record, he aims for eight feet. His human effort and strength can only take him so far. The pole vaulter is different. He has to run too, but he does not trust his own two legs. He carries a pole and sticks that pole into a hole in the ground. He puts all of his trust in that pole not only to hold him but to raise him higher than what he could do on his own. He will go three times higher than the high jumper. The world record for a pole vaulter is more than twenty feet.
You can try to leap on your own and do Christian high jumping, but you will only get so high. But when you run and then lean all of your weight on Jesus and His Word, He takes you higher and higher over things you could never get over on your own. That’s what we learn in Romans 11.
This chapter opens with a story about Elijah who got caught high jumping when he should have been pole vaulting. He was depending on his own strength and insight instead of on God’s. Read how Paul tells the story in which Elijah is speaking at a tough time in his ministry:
“Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” (Romans 11:3-4)
I love how Paul frames Elijah’s story of negativity. Elijah tells the Lord, “They have killed Your prophets, torn down Your altars, and I alone am left.”
What are the Lord’s strong words, the divine response?
This is an important question we always need to ask over our tough situations. When we ask that, we go from high jumping to pole vaulting.
“What is the divine response?” Or, “What does God have to say about this?”
Is there something in God’s Word we can hold on to?
God says to Elijah that what Elijah is seeing is not the reality of the situation: There is not one person but seven thousand who have not bowed their knees. That means, Elijah, there are people just as committed as you, others who are no nonsense and no compromise. You are not alone. When you look with your natural eyes (high jumping), you are the only one. When you ask Me for the divine response (pole vaulting), I know a lot of people who are sold out to Me.
God was telling Elijah the high jumper that he was 6,999 off! That’s what happens when we try to assess situations with fear and anxiety and with what we perceive. We will always be 6,999 off.
We have a pole that takes us higher. It’s the divine response. It is God’s opinion of our situations.
I love this story about a woman who tracked her spiritual pole-vaulting legacy. D. L. Moody told of an old Christian woman who habitually wrote two letters in the margins of her Bible—a “T” and a “P,” which stood for “Tried and Proven.”
This woman received the divine response for every trial. She received a pole vault.
Hopefully Elijah received a T & P when he realized that God knew more people than he did, and that Elijah was not alone.
Always ask for the divine response, you will go higher.