This week’s Old Testament Reading from the Lectionary is one of my favorites! It’s about Elijah!
Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, including the massacre of the prophets. Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow you’ll be as dead as any one of those prophets.”
3-5 When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.
Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”
6 He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.
7 The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”
8-9 He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.
Then the word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?”
10 “I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
11-12 Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
13-14 When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Elijah said it again, “I’ve been working my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
15-18 God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. When you get there anoint Hazael; make him king over Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi; make him king over Israel. Finally, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Anyone who escapes death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu; and anyone who escapes death by Jehu will be killed by Elisha. Meanwhile, I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.” I KINGS 19: 1-18 THE MESSAGE
In what ways are you feeling like Elijah today?
What “enemy” has you ready to run out of town and abandon ship?
We really are all exhausted by the last two years and all the trauma and drama of covid, politics, gun violence, war, work and other losses we have experienced ….
What do you see you need? A nap, some quiet, a chance to get into the wilderness, a long break, an angel to make food? More like minded people? Clarity, Awareness? What? Talk to Jesus about this!
How would you answer the question from God ““What are you doing here,?”
What helps you to hear from God?
Elijah is not only exhausted and afraid, he is also feeling angry at the people who’d abandoned God …anyone you’re angry at that you need to talk to Jesus about ?
God tells Elijah he is not the only one who still follows God. Take time to consider the people in your life who are following Jesus and helping you follow Jesus…Who do you need to spend more time with or listen to or read about?
Like Elijah, sometimes we forget how God provides for us. Take time to thank Jesus for how he’s provided for you lately
“Everyone is nicer after a nap and a snack”
Why do we run from rest?
What keeps you running and busy rather than taking time to fill your cup, or take time to listen for and to Jesus?
ELIJAH was exhausted! Burned out! Discouraged!
ELIJAH needed a nap & a snack!
God provided what he needed!
How can you let God provide for you?
What will it take for you to STOP, have a snack and take a REST?
Are you willing to allow others to help you & see you are NOT ALONE?
When can you start? What about this weekend?
TAKE SOME TIME AND JOURNAL from the questions above and consider how you view rest and why you avoid it.
PRINT out a permission slip or create one for yourself! JESUS gives you permission to REST!
CHECK OUT the altar piece called ” HEAVENLY MEAL ” where this painting of Elijah is found.
USE YOUR BROOM as a reminder! Elijah took a nap under the broom tree. Find a small broom or use your regular broom a visual reminder to REST. Put it out somewhere so you will be reminded daily.
So this weekend, fix yourself a snack and plan time to take a nap and actually REST! Elijah actually needed TWO DAYS! Maybe you do too! Allow Jesus to provide for you. Allow others to help you in your work. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need! Remember that REST IS HOLY! and it’s one of the BIG TEN! Why not make REST your spiritual practice for this summer?
If you need help…The Gift of a Sacred Summer is a devotional kit of spiritual practices I created to help us PRACTICE! The first GIFT is REST! You can purchase the Gift of a Sacred Summer for yourself or someone you love at freerangeworship.com