Elijah- Rich Mullins

There are a number of versions of this song I’ve heard.  The words never change, though the state of Rich’s life in each is obviously different.  The aching in his voice moves to different lines.  You can hear his eagerness in earlier versions, and his weariness in later version.  I love every version of this song.  The one on this album, self titled Rich Mullins (1986), is in the early-middle of his career.  He’s ready to go, but not as beat up as he will be in later versions.

Of all the songs I’ve ever heard in my life, this is by far the one I’ve found reaches the deepest parts of who I am.  It lays me out on the table with nothing left to hide.  So many thoughts were floating around in my heart and mind, and when I heard Elijah… they all came together.  This IS my song.  If I should have a funeral someday, I hope this song is played.

This life has been filled with so many good things from God!  But I’ve ignored so many of them, and let them pass me by.  I would often grab onto the garbage and hold on tight.  It was nasty, disgusting, and fit for the trash.  It wreaked havoc on who I was and left me eager to be rid of it.

As much as I love the flood of goodness that He surrounds us with, I long for the day when I say goodbye to this world we’ve corrupted.  It’s not that I’m excited about death, I’d skip that step if I could.  I just want to be in the place where I can never leave a stain again.  A place where nobody around me will seek to destroy Christ’s work.  A place where all manner of things shall be well.

The thought of Elijah blasting out of here on a chariot of fire is one I’ll never get out of my head.  The flames devouring the chains that held him here, and the bucking of those steeds… so eager to go home.  What a ride that must have been!

I’m ready to go.  I hope with all my heart to see my wife and daughter on the other side.  But if I don’t have Him, then I have nothing.  I want to be with Him!

Here’s a later version of the song…

Elijah- Rich Mullins (Rich Mullins- 1986)

The Jordan is waiting for me to cross through
My heart is aging I can tell
So Lord, I’m begging for one last favor from You
Here’s my heart take it where You will

This life has shown me how we’re mended and how we’re torn
How it’s okay to be lonely as long as you’re free
Sometimes my ground was stoney
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only You could make it what it had to be
And now that it’s done
Well if they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind
I don’t care

But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

There’s people been friendly, but they’d never be your friends
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground
Now that this is all ending
I want to hear some music once again
‘Cause it’s the finest thing that I have ever found

But the Jordan is waiting
Though I ain’t never seen the other side
Still they say you can’t take in the things you have here
So on the road to salvation
I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride
And His music is already falling on my ears

There’s people been talking
They say they’re worried about my soul
Well, I’m here to tell you I’ll keep rocking
‘Til I’m sure it’s my time to roll
And when I do

When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

‘Cause when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

Elijah

I don’t think any other song (save those written in the Bible) has ever affected me as much as this one has.  This song literally changed my life, by the God whom the songwriter serves.  I pray your heart’s true desire is Him, and that no desire for this world will bind to your heart.

It’s YOU!

Continuing on in John 1…

So imagine you are born as a Jew into the world around 3AD, and as you grow up you are taught the truth of Judaism.  You embrace Judaism, and Jehovah God.  And as you grow up you hear your family talking; they speak of the Messiah being already born, and of salvation for the Jews finally being at hand.

Now imagine what it would have been like to read Isaiah 40:1-2:

“Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God. 
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.”

Imagine you’re trying to work through all that, not knowing what we in the 21st century know about Jesus and His blood. The passage is talking about something big, about a change.  God Himself is going do something amazing for His people.

Then you read the next three verses:

“A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” “

Wouldn’t you be eager to hear this voice?  Wouldn’t you want to find the one calling out?  Now imagine, if you can, that you are told that you are to be that voice!  And it’s not just some dude coming up to you and saying “Hey, what if…”  You know without a shadow of a doubt that this passage is speaking specifically, directly, and exclusively about you.  You! 

There’s a prophecy about you in the Holy Writ.  People have been reading this for hundreds of years and wondering who it would be.  When it would be.  How it would happen…  Well, now you must show them.

That’s a lot to take in for one sitting.

And then imagine that you continue in your walk with God, learning more about His word.  You have to now view Scripture knowing that you are a part of it in a way that’s different.  Your free will choices will prove the prophecy true, and you know that somehow it will not be any other way.  You read on about the Messiah, and now you must think about your direct involvement with Him here on earth.  For you are the one who is to reveal Him to Israel.

You are John the Baptist, the voice in the desert.

What a life directing event!  What a mind-altering realization! 

What a burden…

What an honor!!

So John followed what the Scripture said he would do.  He revealed the Christ, who by the way happened to be a man he was related to.  It’s hard for me to put myself in John’s position.  The man from the prophecy in Isaiah 40.  The man who would show the world who the Messiah was.

I don’t know how exactly how John found out this passage was about Him.  But one didn’t just go around Jerusalem claiming to be the voice in Isaiah 40.  One didn’t casually go around declaring who the Messiah was.  And we see the humility John displays when they asked who he was; he said he’s not even worthy of loosing a sandal strap.  This wasn’t a man who had any reason to doubt the fact, or a proud man looking to pull one over on people.  Somehow John knew for sure that he was the one the Scripture spoke about.

Can you imagine?