Revelation

OPENING PRAYER

Great God, pour out Your love and power and fill me with courage to speak boldly for You.

 

Read: 1 KINGS 19:1-21

[1] Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. [2] So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” [3] Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, [4] while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” [5] Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” [6] He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. [7] The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” [8] So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. [9]There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” [10] He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” [11] The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. [12] After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. [13] When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” [14] He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” [15] The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. [16]Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. [17] Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. [18] Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel-all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” [19] So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. [20] Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” [21] So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant. 

 

Reflect: WHAT DO YOU SEE IN ELIJAH HERE?

Faced with threats of death, Elijah flees. After the victory on Mount Carmel, he experiences what some have diagnosed as depression or burnout, mental and physical exhaustion.As on previous occasions, God provides for him. The period of 40 days and 40 nights and the mountain setting (8, Horeb, also known as Sinai) reminds us of Moses (Exod. 24:18; 34:28; Deut. 9:8-10). As with Moses on Mount Sinai, it may well be that Elijah expected to hear God in the wind, earthquake and fire–just as God also revealed himself dramatically at Carmel–except this time the Lord is revealed in “a sound of sheer silence” (12, NRSV). The Lord not only assures Elijah that he is not alone, but gives him new tasks, including appointing a successor–Elisha–symbolically passing on the prophetic mantle to him (19-21). The contrast with Carmel could hardly be greater, providing a rich account of the gentleness and compassion of God in dealing with his damaged people, exercising trust and entrusting responsibility with new tasks. What kind of God is he? Mighty and sovereign, but also understanding and patient. A God for all seasons, for all people.

 

APPLY

Imagine that God asks you, as he asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” How will you respond?

 

CLOSING PRAYER

I say yes to You, Lord. Whatever it looks like, whatever it feels like, “Yes, Lord.”

 

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