Letting God Minister to Us
Sermon preached by
In the reading from today 1 Kings 19-1-9 we hear how Elijah flees to Horeb to be ministered to by an angel.
Religious life under Ahab and his wife Jezebel was pretty bad. The established Jewish faith was being wiped out by Baal worship which Ahab and Jezebel had reintroduced with a vengeance. Jezebel was systematically killing the Jewish leaders and replacing the Israelite worship with Baal worship.
Baal was an indistinct kind of God, as Charlie describes in the notes but he was chiefly associated with the weather and rain, and fire. Elijah’s first encounter with Ahab was when Elijah told him, despite Baal’s supposed control over the rain and the weather, there would be no rain or dew until the Lord God, Yahweh spoke.
That was now 3 years ago and Ahab and Jezebel are getting understandably tetchy.
To make things worse, Elijah had challenged them on Baal’s other supposed strength, fire, and they’d had a bonfire contest on Mount Carmel which Yahweh had won and, as a result, Elijah had many of the prophets of Baal killed.
This really got up Jezebel’s nose and she threatens to have Elijah killed in the next 24 hours.
Jezebel and Ahab were not nice characters, and upsetting them was generally not a smart thing to do.
Understandably, from a human perspective, Elijah runs away.
The great man of God is scared stiff and just wants to die, before he is found. Fortunately the person who finds him is an angel who ministers to him and brings him bread and water.
Psalm 31 v 7 (today’s Psalm) says
‘The angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear him and delivers them‘
To get through the barren and scary place Elijah needs to eat and drink the food and water that God has prepared for him. And sometimes that’s the same for us too.
Perhaps we don’t find ourselves in quite the fix that Elijah did but we sometimes feel very alone and sometimes we feel very scared. And it’s not a nice place to be…
But the more Elijah turned in on himself the more hopeless he became
The more he turned to God the more he was without fear
We too need to eat and drink of God’s bread of life and living water if we are to get through our own barren places
The summer is often a time of physical rest and refreshment, often needed
with today’s hectic lifestyle we all seem to live. But perhaps it should
also be a time of spiritual refreshment too
A time when we take time to let God minister to us
A time not to be caught up in frenzied activity all the time
But a time to be still and let God speak minister to us as He did to Elijah
Perhaps through others
Perhaps through His word
Perhaps through the church
Perhaps through a retreat
Perhaps even through Angels… …do we believe in them – why ever not!
Letting God minister to us is not something to be rushed. Elijah ate and drank and then went back to sleep. It was only after he had eaten and drunk for a second time that he went on his way (never to be troubled by Jezebel or Ahab again).
Sometimes we want to get moving to soon, we get impatient with God and with ourselves.
If it was us we’d be off after the first meal, but God always wants to spend more time with us than we do with Him. To refresh us for the things of the past and to prepare and encourage us for the work he has for us for the future.
Just as he did for Elijah
Bible Readings and Notes for 10th August 2003