Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sermon for 6/30/13 1 Kings 19

Elijah - time of discouragement
God asks “What are you doing here?”
Elijah’s discouraged answer - much like ours might be
 we tried, tried hard, worked hard
 God’s people departed from Word and Sacrament (covenant and altar)
 God’s people have rejected God’s servants, even to the death
 Persecution all around this world, rejection of the Lord
 Confessional, faithful, historic Christianity seems to be languishing
 feels like you’re going to die

How many of you have heard the sermon that goes on from Elijah’s discouragement to put him into the cave where he witnesses all sorts of shows of power then finally hears God in the still, small voice that tells him what to do? You are then supposed to look within, listen for God’s still, small voice, and take comfort? This isn’t that sermon.

What does God do? He tries to blow up the mountain? He doesn’t try very hard, because the mountain isn’t blown up. But he terrifies Elijah! Wind, breaking rocks, an earthquake, fire - Go through that and just tell me you aren’t scared.

I can just picture Elijah hiding behind a rock, hoping that the cave doesn’t fall in, wondering if he’ll get through this alive. Finally it becomes quiet, he hears just a small sound, and he plucks up his courage to come out.

Why are you here?”

Elijah has the same answer. He’s like most of us. We don’t understand that the Lord who can create heaven and earth and everything in them can take care of us. We still fear. We still go to hide under a rock, thinking maybe we’ll be safe there.

So God finally tells Elijah why he is here.
 Go anoint a king of Syria. Hazael, though a Syrian, attacked and defeated the unfaithful leader of Israel.
 Go anoint a king of Israel. Jehu, who took the throne after Hazael sacked Israel, defeated many of the remaining unfaithful forces of Israel.
 Go take a follower who will take your place. Elisha had a relatively long and productive ministry as God’s prophet.

All this moved Israel down the path that Elijah desired, the path God desired. Elijah was frustrated. We also are often frustrated. It doesn’t seem that we are accomplishing anything. But God’s Word is not fruitless. Our Lord accomplishes His desire, as Word and Sacrament are being administered.
 growing in  grace
 fruit of the Spirit

Where’s Jesus in all this?
 mighty one of God
 speaks peace and salvation to us
 gives us a kingdom that will never pass away, gates of hell cannot prevail
 appoints us to work as well-trained servants of the Word
 has us pass on the gifts God has given to future generations

1) Fearful about your calling in life? Feel like a failure? Jesus has called you and does not leave you alone. Remember the thousands he appointed to be faithful in Elijah’s time.

2) Wonder about your hope for the future? Jesus builds his Church and it will prevail. Persevere without fear!

3) Wonder if you are one of the Lord’s opponents? Trust that Jesus has come to suffer and die for that state of opposition. Trust that He died for you. Know that he gives you forgiveness and places you in just the right place to serve him in his kingdom.

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