Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Elijah Meets God at Horeb - 1 Kings 19:1-18 - by Amy Gardine
Wrestling angels, talking donkeys, and witches… oh my! Yes, it is true that the summer Bible study passages could be likened to a journey into OZ at some points! But these scriptures are so much better, and this week’s account emphasizes why.
This week Elijah, fearing for his life, retreats to the wilderness – alone and willing to die. As he sits down under a solitary broom tree, we see that he is not only running from the threats of Jezebel, but also his own thoughts. He is filled with self-doubt! But Elijah has done something brilliant here. He has retreated! Whether this is instinctual or a back-up plan, Elijah has found a place of protection and in this place he receives mercy. As Elijah sleeps, God sends an angel to provide him with food and drink two times. Miraculously, this nourishment is enough to sustain him in his 40-day pursuit of God!
After Elijah arrives at Horeb, God puts on quite a show: mountain-breaking winds; shuddering earthquakes; and roaring fires descend on Horeb. These are acts that would surely awaken a soul! But the Lord did not appear in these acts. Instead, God came in the stillness, bringing answers, peace, and assurance. In the quiet moments with God, Elijah gained more than he could have believed possible.
How hard is it for us to find that retreat? That silence? With an overflowing calendar, three boys who could rival the cacophony on Horeb, and a to-do list that seems 40 days and 40 nights long, I sometimes feel I am overwhelmed, too. I just want to chuck-it out the window and ask God for a do-over. But this scripture is reassuring to me. Elijah did not have to look far. He simply sat down and rested. For me, this is why this week’s scripture is so much better than that Hollywood trip to OZ. I am NOT being called to run down some golden path. Instead, I am being called to stop long enough to re-discover mercy – for me and others. After that, I can feed on God’s word, full enough to make the journey and peaceful enough to listen for what lies ahead. In our journey to discover God’s call for Sunnyside, I believe the first step is actually not a step, but a seat. It is a call to find our “broom tree” where we can quiet our hearts and truly hear God’s plan.