This week's blogger is my dear friend and studio co-owner, Andrea Noles. Sit down, tuck in, and listen. She always has a beautiful word to share.
Olly Olly Oxen Free!
Remember this childhood catchphrase?
It meant “Come on out now, it’s safe!”
We proclaimed this after a serious game of hide and go seek or capture the flag.
Sometimes childhood phrases come into my mind for no apparent reason, and today while having a little breakfast at McDonald’s, this particular one lingered. I almost dismissed it, but something said not to. A faint voice that whispered, “There’s more you need to know.”
Suddenly and sweetly he reminded me of the Prophet Elijah and his journey through strength and weakness, wilderness and abundance, boldness and fear. I remembered his darkness, his courage that eventually sent him running for his life, looking for a hiding place, not wanting a seeker, unless it was death.
Elijah- Prophet of Gilead, bold man of faith, whose whole life was devoted to the work of restoring true worship in Israel.
We first meet him 1 Kings 17 and soon realize his boldness as he predicts a drought and tells King Ahaz, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
MY WORD? That’s some authority.
We see his obedience as he listens for the voice of God and goes exactly where God tells him to go.
He raises a widow’s son from death.
He confronts Ahab.
He defeated and killed the prophets of Baal.
We see his strength and God’s glory in every place, in every part of his story.
Until the rain came.
And as word of his strength spread, revenge grew, as His enemies, King Ahab and Jezebel, sought to take his life.
He ran fast and hard into the wilderness and after a day’s journey, sat beneath a broom tree and begged God that he might die. “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
The same voice that declared a drought was declaring death.
“Olly Olly Oxen Free!”
Our God proclaims freedom here by sending an angel to remind Elijah, “Come on out now, it’s safe here.”
The angel brings him bread and water.
The angel really brought him strength.
He pressed onward, still fleeing in fear and after forty days and forty nights, he finds a cave and hides in darkness.
“Olly Olly Oxen Free!”
Our Father called to him and said,
“What are you doing here, Elijah? I have more for you.”
“Listen to me and come out of hiding, it is safe here with me.”
Wrapped in a cloak, he stands at the entrance of the dark cave and faintly hears God whispering, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness, and when you arrive, you shall anoint a new King."
What a sweet savior. He found his fearful child and gently whispered truth back into his soul. He still had so much more for him.
Dear friend, have you been in hiding, holding back, keeping distance from the Lord?
Afraid of your sin?
Hiding secrets from your past?
Roaming the wilderness, thirsty and desperate for God?
Psalm 32:7 says, “You are my hiding place, you protect me from trouble.”
The same sweet savior that spoke to Elijah at the entry of the cave, and under a tree, wants to speak to you. He has places to send you, people to reach, and a gospel to be told.
The nations are awaiting your courage and your simple obedience could bring forth rain in the midst of drought, hope in the face of darkness, love in a world of hate.
Father, teach us to seek refuge and safety under the shadow of your wings. Send your Holy Spirit to remind us of what we already know. Help us remember the story of Elijah and teach us to see your glory in every place.
We will hear your voice crying out to us,
“Olly Olly Oxen Free, you are safe here with me.”