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Archive for July 20th, 2021

1 Kings 18: Elijah and Ahab
 17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.  (1 Kings 18)

Prayer of the Day

Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Elijah, You continued the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The narrative of Elijah begins at 1 Kings 17: 1 and ends with Elijah’s assumption into heaven, II Kings 2: 12.

The prophet Elijah, whose name means “My God is Yahweh [the LORD],” prophesied in the Northern Kingdom of Israel primarily during the reign of Ahab (874-853 BC).Ahab, under the influence of his pagan wife Jezebel, had encouraged the worship of Baal throughout his kingdom, even as Jezebel sought to get rid of the worship of Yahweh. Elijah was called by God to denounce this  idolatry and to call the people of Israel, to the worship of Yahweh as the only true God (as he did in 1 Kings 18:20-40). Elilia., was a rugged and imposing figure, living the wilderness and dressing in a garment of  camel’s hair and a leather belt (1 Kings 18:20-40).He was a prophet mighty in word and deed. Many miracles were done through Elijah, including the raising of the dead (1 Kings 17.17-24) and the effecting of a long drought in Israel (1 Kings 17:1). At the end of his ministry, he was taken up into heaven while Elisha, his successor, looked on (2 Kings 2:11). Later, the prophet Malachi proclaimed that Elijah would return before the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6), a prophecy that was fulfilled in the prophetic ministry of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:14). (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Living in the Baal Lands

Elijah was in the minority of the true faith of Israel.  He had help but at times he felt alone (1 Kings 19: 4,10).  His own nation, the Lord’s chosen people, were being ruled by a King and his wife who introduced false religion into the promised land (1 Kings 16: 29-34). It must have been for the faithful Israelites, like Elijah, so strange, so not normal, even frightening that Baal worship was being so accepted by God’s own people.  Baalism was a fertility religion to ‘insure’ the fertility of the earth for a harvest.  By certain rituals, involving temple prostitutes, they thought they could influence Baal for the harvest.  This religion had the attraction of sexual promiscuity. Israel fell to Baalism many times in its history recorded in the Old Testament.  In the time of Elijah, Baalism was accepted by the King and his Queen, that is, the government while the true faith of Israel was oppressed.  Eventually, Queen Jezebel wanted Elijah’s death(1 Kings 19: 2).

With the threat of more lockdowns, pandemic, riots, the rise of Marxism, increasing animosity toward Christianity, false doctrine preached and taught in churches, atheism and idolatry, hatred of patriotism, the destruction of authority, we too seem to be living in a Baal land. King Ahab himself goes to visit Elijah and…

 17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.  (1 Kings 18)

Elijah was risking his life even talking like this.  We will lose friends in sticking up for the Lord in Word and deed. Maybe our current time’s severe problems are God’s own judgment:  if we had been sticking up for the Lord and faithful to His Word,  telling of Him, living as seven days a week Christians, many more would be saved, and so strong in the Lord to remain steadfast in Him.  Maybe this time is our wake-up call. We are called to live a woke life in the Lord.

 Yet, people are troubled.  God’s Word came to Elijah and in a kind of parable in real life, His Word came through Elijah to another Sidonian (same as Jezebel), the widow of Zarephath! (1 Kings 17: 8-16).  The church is and will be accused of “troubling” our own country which has, “abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed…” false gods.  Yet He wills His Word for both Jew and Gentile, Christian and not Christian to be planted and lived (St. Matthew 13: 1-9).  Maybe like Elijah, like John the Baptist, “…the voice of one crying in wilderness” (St. Luke 3: 4), are saints for our time. We too will be saints crying in this wilderness.

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