Sunday, August 13:
1 Kings 19:9-18
You are in for a treat again, this coming Sunday, as Kam Stabler will be your preacher. I just heard from him, that he has in mind to preach from Scripture texts other than what we would use if I were leading worship and preaching.
These weekly opportunities to write about our walk with God are good for me. I hope you get some blessing out of them, too.
The gospel lesson for this coming Sunday, Matthew 14: 22 – 33, focuses on the famous “Jesus walks on water” scene. Do you remember this ?
[Peter said to Jesus, ] “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me !”
Many preachers and authors have made much of this super-dramatic story. Have you ever tried to imagine yourself in the place of Peter in this story ?
Would you ask Jesus to let you walk on the water ?
Would you dare to get out of the boat ?
Do you imagine that your faith would enable you to
face the strong wind ?
Would you cry out, as Peter did,
for Jesus to save you ?
Another Scripture lesson this week is 1 Kings 19: 9 – 18. This is where we read of the great prophet Elijah facing the LORD on the holy mountain.
If you could use some good Summer reading, you might check out the saga of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel, which is found in 1 Kings 16: 28 – 22: 40. Elijah’s story begins during Ahab and Jezebel’s reign, and many of Elijah’s most famous deeds of power occur while he is standing up to this evil King and Queen.
Elijah prophesied a terrible drought in Israel, and it came, starving and impoverishing the country for about three years. (1 Kings 17:1)
During the drought, God fed Elijah through miracles, first in the desert wilderness with food brought by ravens, and later in a town outside of Israel with a widow, whose flour and oil supply miraculously never failed.
Elijah prayed for the widow’s son when he died, and the boy was returned from death.
Perhaps most dramatically, Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of the idols Baal and Asherah to a duel by fire ! (1 Kings 18) The worshipers of the false gods would sacrifice a bull and lay the meat on firewood, then pray to their god for fire. Although they prayed and danced and did everything they could think of, nothing happened. When it was Elijah’s turn, he also sacrificed a bull and laid the meat on firewood... and then had hundreds of gallons of water poured on top of it all. Then Elijah prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your bidding. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the wood, the meat, and even the stone altar. And the people bowed down and worshiped God.
But Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah, and Elijah took off, running away through the wilderness. In 2007, I was blessed to hear Rev. John Thomas preach a sermon called “On the Run” about this episode in Elijah’s career. He said, “To be honest, this is not Elijah's finest moment.... [t]o be quite honest about it, in our text he is a pathetic, self-absorbed, whining figure... [with] a grumpy lament on his lips.”
We have seen the prophet Elijah brave, and we have seen Elijah pathetic.
We have also seen Jesus’ disciple Peter brave, and we have also seen Peter pathetic.
Bethel people have seen Dan pathetic. I hope that, at least in some fleeting moment, you have also seen me brave. If you did— if I was— it was strictly by the grace of God my Savior. God is the only One Who can save— as with Elijah and Peter.
Paul taught the Roman church that when one trusts in God through Jesus Christ, all things work together for good. [I]f you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9) God can give us courage.
Let’s keep calling out to Jesus, “Lord, save me !”