24–30 July 2016.
1 Kings 19–20 (click to read).
The prophet Elijah is about to find out that in life things are never easy or uncomplicated! In chapter 19:14 we read that he only wanted to do something good for God – but it all went so wrong! In his zealous passion for God he turned to violence, killing the prophets of Baal. But now that violence has turned back upon him – because now Jezebel is out to kill him. Scared for his life, Elijah runs into the wilderness, gives up on everything, falls to the ground, and prays to die.
But just when we think everything is hopeless, God has a way of opening up new doors. We saw this back in the story of Moses. And actually Elijah’s story is very similar to Moses’s story. In their passion to do what they thought was right, both Moses and Elijah kill others. Then afraid for their lives, they both run off into the wilderness. They both start on a journey to Mount Sinai. On the way, God feeds them both miraculously. And once at the mountain, God teaches them both about himself.
Why do people love using violence so much? Maybe it’s because power and violence impress us. We are impressed by the power of raging, mighty storms. We are impressed by the power of great, destructive earthquakes. And we’re impressed by the power of fire that spreads out and destroys everything it touches. Violence impresses us, so people even began thinking about God in these raging, violent ways too. People saw the impressive power and violence of nature and thought: “That’s what God must be like!”
But God shows Elijah how wrong those ideas are. We don’t see God in raging violence at all, but in gentleness and quietness. That’s the same lesson Jesus gives us too. People wanted God to come as a powerful warrior, a violent soldier – not as a quiet, loving, and meek Messiah.
So if quietness and meekness describe the way God is, then the best way we can represent God is not through raging violence, not through anger, and certainly not by killing others like Elijah had done! Instead a small, calm voice is what makes us more like God. We may not think that’s very impressive, but in the end that’s a far better way for us to represent the true God in our own lives.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis