4 Elijah (4)
The Lord who tells to a weak person
‡T Kings 19:1-18
We watched a confrontation of Elijah with prophets of Baal from Chapter 18 last week, but Elijah won that confrontation, and Israel confessed faith to Jahweh. Their confession, "The Lord, He is God;", was really vain like a millet seed, but it would be still a blessing of God. It rained very much on the earth which had finished drying, and Elijah showed consideration to King Ahab in that rain. It is from the end of Chapter 18, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does no stop you.'".(18:44) He did not consider Ahab to be a person of hostility anymore. Ahab would come to accept Jahweh again, too. And it is there "And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel"(18:45). There was a palace of Ahab in Jezreel which left Mt Carmel 40 ‡q. Elijah ran in front of the chariot of such Ahab, perhaps, he may have wanted to check whether Ahab who had seen restored faith to Jahweh could escape from a magical power of queen Jezebel.
In Chapter 19, Jezebel whom Elijah must really confront appeared. "Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword."(1) His heart seemed to have been restored by carriage during only approximately 3 hours. I cannot consider him as a man who had weak mind that much, but would he feel deep indebtedness to Jezebel? In opposition to south kingdom, he might not abandon a military alliance with Phoenicia. Because prophets of Baal which she relied on was all killed, Jezebel flared up in revenge feeling, and would think of the fight that Ahab was defeated by so that oneself fights this time. So she sent a messenger to Elijah who came to the entrance of Jezreel and said "So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time."(2). Her later action was not written down, but because it was her temperament, she should assassinate him, and so it seems that she sent an assassinator corps promptly. It was drawn openly Elijah who was afraid of such Jezebel on Chapter 19. But perhaps, even on the present age, there will be many things surrounding us, such fear, uneasiness, doubt and the situation which lose sight of hope. However, it seems to be demanded that we establish true faith. Chapter 19 tells us that the faith of Elijah is modernized, however here, I want to try to put it on top of one another with our faith.
‡U In fatigue and starvation and thirst
Elijah who has known anger of Jezebel fled into the south of Judah. He said good-bye to the youth whom attended all the time in Beersheba, and furthermore, he traced to the south road, but in there, the earth which had finished drying meandered. Perhaps, a heavy rain is only the Israeli northern part, but the dry season would still continue in the Israeli southern part. "He...came and sat down under a juniper tree;", it suggests with it. When it lent it, it may have been only the northern part that underwent famine without raining more than two years. Because Palestine is area which merged Kyushu with Shikoku and it is long in the north and south, it seems to have taken one week or 10 days by a shortcut from Jezreel to Beersheba. On fear to Jezebel, he got impossible to walk one step for fatigue and dehydration and hunger, too. Before Elijah who revealed the deplorable figure which seems to be a different person with the person who confronted prophets of Baal with "It is enough; now, O lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers."(4), an angel appeared. "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.". It was there, "So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God."(8) Mount Sinai, Moses received the mission of God in there, and it was the place where Moses' Ten Commandments was conferred and it was a land fixed as people of selection of God in various ways. Elijah just only ran away from Jezebel by fluster, but, in fact, it was the guidance of God to come to there. He experienced a new encounter with God for the Israeli faith revival that was the road middle of the Mount Sinai.
Chapter 20 does not have a name of Elijah, and the event that prophets challenge Ahab and Jezebel to a fight was written down. Surely a prophet group of Jahweh revived by his activity, and Elijah would be in the rear as a leader. Words of God began to act through the genealogy of prophets. Will there be the place that is common to an ideal method of our church of the present age? The article of Chapter 19 of Elijah and God, it seems that is telling all works of church begin from a new encounter with God of us each one.
‡V The Lord who tells to a weak person
Elijah did a new encounter with God in Mount Sinai. Was it in the middle of the mountain? Elijah heard words of the Lord after he spent single night in the cave which found. "What are you doing here, Elijah?", "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."(9-10) Because Elijah did not trust Israeli confession of "The Lord, He is God."(18:39), it may be said so. Or would he be replacing Ahab and Jezebel with Israeli people? Anyway, he appealed for very deep loneliness. Perhaps, a prophet group was smashed by Jezebel, and prophets of the survivor who had scattered would all taste the same helplessness. I hear that this murmur represents such of them and is saying instead of me who is still weak and small, too.
However, this scene that Elijah met God is big encouragement. "So He said, 'Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.' And behold the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing."(11-12) Sometimes, what God does seems to be a big storm, and there are people of missionary work presenting such a brilliant work. However, it is suitable for the weak miserable people like Elijah at this time, and there can be that He begins to talk with a slender voice. At this time, Elijah might have lost an ear to hear a big voice, and to distribute of God. Anyway, he heard a small voice of the Lord. He covered his face with his overcoat immediately and he went out and stood in front of the cave. "What are you doing here, Elijah?". These questions occurred at the same time with Verse 9-10, but the editors of ‡TKings would repeat that the Lord heard a suit of his sorrow with Elijah's former answer daringly here. Paul testifies with "And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness;"(8:26), however for us, God is the One full of love and pity so. It was sacrifice of the cross of Jesus and became our salvation.
Re-organization of a prophet group came out of his new encounter with this God, and a new fight began. "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael kin over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint kin over Israel;..."(15-17), and He said. That state becomes another chapter, but to Elijah who appealed for loneliness, God said "Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him."(18). In the present age, Japanese people is called sterility, but the people knowing the Lord by all means will be had. For that people, we take it well without failing to hear that thin voice of God, and it is to tell it now. I wish to impress such a fight on my heart.