I’ll try not to get too deep or write too long, but several things popped out at me in today’s Scripture lessons at Church this morning.
From 1 Kings 19:1-8
Why was Elijah so freaked out by Jezebel’s threats? Didn’t God just burn up a water-logged altar with fire from Heaven and help him slay all the false prophets of Baal? Seems a lot like the time when the Disciples were freaking out in the boat about the storm the night after Jesus, in the boat with them had just miraculously fed 5,000+ people on 5 loaves and 2 fish?
Oh we of little faith.
At least this shows that even Biblical heroes struggle with their doubts. You’re not the only one who struggles with anxiety and depression. Elijah, this greatest of prophets, whom God used to raise the dead and who’s prayers motivated God to stop and start the rain, was a suicidal refugee.
It also goes to show that God works even in & through our weakness- if Elijah hadn’t fled, when/how would God have led him for 40 days through the wilderness to Mt. Horeb where he’d finally hear God’s still, small voice? God kept leading and using Elijah in spite of his wallowing in his own shame, guilt and insecurity. Not that we should use this as an excuse to wallow- but it just goes to show that God doesn’t give up on us or His plans, even when we’ve given up on Him or foolishly think He’s given up on us.
From Ephesians 4:17-5:2
Yep. Giving ourselves up to impurity is often a result of our callousness. I get that. When you’re bitter and jaded, it’s easy to become hedonistic, using people instead of caring about them. Wounded people wound.
A good reason to speak honestly with others is that “we are all members of another.” Relationships are built on trust. Deceit damages community.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,” more legalistic denominations use this verse to prohibit profanity and promote only “edifying” language. I can also see this as the difference between tearing down and building up- “but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” That’s about being constructive rather than destructive. Positive vs. negative? Teach & preach & beseech, not judge and condemn and curse?
Then Paul says not to “grieve the Holy Spirit.” I used to think that any sin grieved the Spirit and made Him withdrawal- thus David’s plea in Psalm 51:11 that God “cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” It may be true that any and all sin separates us from a right relationship with God, but here in Ephesians there are some specific ones mentioned immediately after the warning to “not grieve the Holy Spirit;” bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and slander along with malice. Pretty much things that intentionally hurt others.
What should we do instead (and one might assume than that these things please the Spirit? “Be kind to one another.” tenderhearted, forgiving as God forgives us, imitate Jesus who loved us enough to give Himself up for us.
Okay, that’s deep. Sorry, I promised not to go there.
I also promised not to write too long but there’s one more passage left.
From John 6:35-51
If you ever wonder what is the “will of God,” here it is- “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life,” that’s God’s will for EVERYONE. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to take Him up on that offer.
For some reason, when we were reading from John 6 this morning, I thought back to reading Romans 10 sometime this week. It seems to me that in both chapters, God makes it clear that salvation is a gift received in faith and trust not by works, merit or entitlement. We aren’t born into it and we can’t earn it. But we have to trust that it’s given to us. If you don’t believe it’s been given, it’s as if it hadn’t been.
OLD TESTAMENT- I know this much, I’m not going to pray for faith like Elijah’s. I’m gonna start asking for faith like a little child’s. For the biggest prophet since Moses, that guy struggled just as much as I do- MORE even! EPISTLE- If I really love God and His Word, I’ll get busy loving others. GOSPEL- Stay hungry my friends (for the Bread of Life, that is).