Last time I spoke of Elijah I
recounted with you the beginning of Elijahís career. His battle with Ahab
and the 450 prophets of Baal, Ahab and
When we ended last time Elijah
was literally on top of
Today I have a much quieter tale to tell and perhaps one that we can hold a little closer to ourselves.
Much of modern American
pseudo-Christianity has adopted Elijah on
I would like to pursue with you
the theme of Lent which proclaims that ďThe sacrifice of God is a broken
spirit, a broken and contrite heart.Ē Together we need to make a space in
which our hearts can at least crack enough to let God fall in. On the top
After his complete victory on
After this triumph, instead of
going off to celebrate, Elijah becomes depressed and goes off to the desert,
where he asks for his death. God gives him food but the Lordís angel has
to make him eat it and then go up to
I have been very jealous for the Lord, the Lord God of
Hosts. For the children of
God orders Elijah out of the cave, to stand before the Lord who announces that he is going to pass by. First comes the mighty wind which rends the mountain and breaks the rock into pieces. But the Lord was not in the wind. Then comes the earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then comes the fire, but the lord was not in the fire.
After the fire there came a still small voice. At this Elijah goes and stands at the entrance to the cave and God speaks to Elijah, asking what he is doing there. Once again Elijah repeats.
I have been very jealous for the Lord, the Lord god of Hosts, for the children of Israel have broken thine covenant and thrown down thine altars and slain all thy prophets, slain them with the sword and I only I am left, one prophet of the lord, and now they seek my life to take it away.
Then in an extraordinary
anti-climax God tells him to go to
What is often read as the triumph
of Yahwism is in fact a story about the un-deceiving
of Elijah. Elijah before his undeceiving was a champion fighter with
no problems of self-esteem or self confidence. God was a god like Baal,
but bigger and tougher and Elijah was his spokesman, the one who pointed out
godís victims. The contest on
Oh Lord now take away my life, for I am not better than my Fathers. 1 Kings 19:4
Read properly we can finally hear Godís still small voice and
read this saga of Elijah not as a series of praises for the Yahwist
champion, but rather as the story of how Elijah learned not to identify God
with all those special effects which he had manipulated on
The doings on the Mount of the Lord, are presented as the de-construction of the sacred structures associated with Moses. For the Lord is present in the still, small voice rather than in force, destruction and majesty.
Elijah thought of himself as an heroic martyr. He tells God he is the only one who has remained loyal. He was full of zeal for the God who appeared in hurricanes, earthquakes and fire. But what does it mean to be zealous in the service of the still small voice? It is a somewhat humbled Elijah who sets off to carry out is appointed tasks.
This lesson is a turning point in the Old Testament much like Peterís confession is the turning point in our Gospels. There is a power and presence of God that can only come to us when our magical sacred structures are disassembled.
At the beginning we have a sacred Yahwism which can shine alongside other religions, but whose sacrifices are more efficacious, whose God is more powerful and whose power to unite people for sacred wars is greater.
The still small voice undoes this all. The voice says God is not a rival to Baal, God is not to be found in sacred violence. Elijah when he entered into rivalry with the prophets of Baal became one of them, because God is not to be found in such circuses of religious activity. Elijah is un-deceived. He is no longer a shaman, a sacrificer because the Lord is not like the other Gods, not like Baal.
The cave at
Forsake your idols, return to God for he is slow to anger and merciful and kind and gracious.† Let God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ soften your hearts so that they may crack and let him in.