Wednesday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:1-21 (NKJV)
1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
9 And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 15 Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
19 So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
Here is a situation where there is a death threat given because a servant is faithful. The unbelieving world does not take kindly to being exposed and threatened with the Name of the Triune God. But, rather than try to destroy the One True God, they come after God’s servants, as in Jezebel’s attempt to kill Elijah.
However, God intervenes and enables Elijah to travel for 40 days and nights to Mount Horeb to prove to him he is not alone. The Lord shows that He has things under control, seeking to protect His servant’s life and seeing that His message will continue through Elisha.
It may seem, at times, as a wasted use of our energy to serve others with the message of God through the Word and Sacraments alone, but, like Elijah, we are not alone either. God has things under control. Our omniscient God knows how much His servants can handle as the unbelieving world defiles the reputations of God’s servants with lies and accusations. The faithless make threats when we won’t commune someone’s Methodist grandma, or members threaten to withhold their tithes and offering until a “new and more loving, understanding pastor replaces you.” God will protect and rescue His servants from the battle at just the right time, as He strengthens one’s faith to always remember it is God Who is hated and despised, the servant is only the scapegoat. Thanks be to God!
We pray: Hallelujah! Let praises ring! Unto the Holy Ghost we sing for our regeneration. The saving faith in us He wrought and us unto the Bridegroom brought, made us His chosen nation. Glory! Glory! Joy eternal, bliss supernal; there is manna and an endless, glad Hosanna! Amen. (TLH 23:3)