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Showing posts from January, 2007

The silence of God

1 Kings 19:1-18 There are many times when it seems that God goes silent on us, when it seems that God has abandoned us. There is silence when we pick up the bible and get absolutely nothing out of it, or we come to communion and it is a sheer ritual that we are going through, or we pray and it seems we are talking to a blank wall. There can be silence when we struggle with why our partner has cancer or our child has been born with cystic fibrosis or why we have destructive desires or impulses that we simply do not seem to be able to control. There can be silence when we ask God why we have flogged our guts out and nothing has happened. There can be silence when we ask, why am I so desperately alone? In our reading today, Elijah encounters the silence of God. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah has had a mountain top experience. God met with him on Mt Carmel in the most astonishing way. God came in the fire that fell on the sacrifice. The people had declared for the LORD. God certainly was not silent

The decision

1 Kings 18:20-39 This is a familiar passage and a great story. Elijah and the prophets of Baal Elijah calls on the people to decide: are they going to follow the LORD or Baal? The question they have to answer is who is going to be in the centre of their lives: as a nation and as individuals? One of the interesting things about the passage is the use of the word 'dance', 'waver' (v21, 26): it is the same Hebrew word. The people waver or dance about which God they will serve. The prophets of Baal waver or dance round Baal. One day they serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The next, they serve Baal. It is so human. We are very frightened of commitment - because commitment restricts us. We are frightened of it at the level of relationships (it is the single major reason why so many couples live together without getting married); at work (this week Walter Smith walked out on his contract to manage Scotland to go back to Rangers. The man being interviewed said: 'Eve

Open to God

1 Kings 17 Sometimes people are wounded and it closes them up. At other times, it opens them up. Today we are looking at a wounded person who is one of the heroes of the faith. She is mentioned by Jesus. And yet, what is surprising is that she was not a Jew; she did not live in Israel; and we do not even know her name. She is known as the widow of Zarephath. She had lost her husband, she was living in a time of drought and famine, and she had a child to look after. And yet, despite what she was going through, 1. She receives a stranger, a foreigner in her land 2. She receives the word of God Elijah, who is one of the great prophets of the Old Testament, is sent by God to her. He asks her for a drink: 'Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink'. In a land of drought, where water was more precious than gold, that was a big request. But she gives him a drink. And then Elijah asks her for some food. 'Sir', she says, 'I don't have any bread. I