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Elijah wants to be more than special
We're with the prophets in the first week of Advent. We're trying to relate to them and see God in them.
I already wrote about Jonah this week. Jonah’s deny Himself to follow God. Not every prophet has that journey. Enter Elijah. He is a really important prophet in the Old Testament. Onc of his most profound interactions happens when he is resisting the evil King Ahab and hundreds of the prophets of Baal.
Israel at this point is suffering from a famine and drought and they are suffering. God needs to deliver them. Elijah is the key.
Elijah is troubled with King Ahab because he is allowing people to worship false gods in Israel. (Much like our “kings” allow people to worship false Gods—around Christmastime such Gods are often worshiped, this Black Friday was no exception.)
Of course, Elijah can be seen as an anti-patriot. And Ahab refers to him as such saying he is a troubler of Israel. Not surprising, most nationalists think that their detractors are just causing troublers. We hate the U.S. if we criticize it.
Elijah is sick of the Israelites being wishy-washy about follow God. He tells them, you’ve got to choose one God or another. It can’t be Yahweh and Baal.
So all alone, Elijah went up against the 450 prophets of Baal. They entered a competition wherein they set two bulls up for sacrifice. Whoever’s God brought fire was the real God.
This is a big moment for Elijah. You might relate to him in this moment. He’s acting brave and self-assured, but he is feeling isolation and loneliness, I think. He’s all by himself. His people have deserted him, and his king is calling him a troubler.
Some of us bring this on ourselves. If you are determined to feel special, you might just rebel against everyone around you so that you can be alone on the mountain crying out for God, hoping that he humiliates your opponents.
Truthfully, your narcissism and need to be special might lead you to a lonely place. But it also might be God. Discern this wisely. Jesus is leading the greatest mutiny ever, don’t waste your rebelling against him.
Elijah’s faith sustains Him. He goes up against the hundreds of prophets, and eventually he is elated when it looks like their god is false.
Elijah’s turn shows up. He drenches his wood and bull with water. So much so that a stream forms. Elijah gets his fire, and it even “licks up the stream.”
The Lord brings water finally and Israel is nourished. It’s all because of Elijah’s faith. You have the same capacity for faith that Elijah demonstrates here. But it is hard to be alone and to find faith to sustain you. Being a prophet, repeatedly brings about feelings of loneliness and disappointment.