Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Elijah, Part II: Uh... Excuse me

Do you remember the television show "Full House?" Long before it was known as where the Olsen twins got their start, the cutest kid on the show was the middle daughter, Stephanie. She had a particularly funny line that she'd deliver over and over, often when she was kicked out of the room because her bigger sister, DJ (Kirk Cameron's sister in real life) didn't want her hanging out with her friends. The line - "How Rude!"

When I look at what Elijah said later on, I think of the same thing. He's sent on from the ravine, where God provided amazing meals through some unclean birds, to a foreign city where presumably the people would be worshippers of this same pseudo storm-god Baal that Elijah was out to show was really no-god, next to the LORD God. He gets there and meets up with a widow who is gathering sticks to make a fire for one last meal for her and her son before they - well, they pretty much plan to lay down and die. They have a tiny bit of flour left and a tiny bit of oil. Elijah of course, had just asked for some bread - fat chance.

So, now that this widow explains her situation to Elijah, that she's gathering wood to make a fire to bake this little oil and flour into a loaf for her and her son, so that they can eat and die, Elijah comes back with this:

"Don't be afraid. Go hom and do as you have said.
But FIRST make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son." (1 Kings 17:13 NIV, italics mine)

The NERVE! Can't he just let the poor woman alone? Can't he see that she cannot possibly have anything to share with him? She's literally at the end of her rope. She has absolutely nothing left. But Elijah doesn't seem that concerned. Maybe it's because he follows up with this:

"For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.'" (1 Kings 17:14 NIV)

At first glance you have to ask what in the world is he doing - but there's so much more here. There is an opportunity for a foreign woman, poor and destitute, to gain faith in the only true LIVING God. Now, she CAN just go home, make the cake and die, OR she can go home, make some for Elijah and watch a miracle take place - thanks to the LORD. This is of course exactly what she does.

The challenge for me in reading this is asking myself, when someone who is brash comes up to me and makes a comment like this, challenges me on something, or is just simply rude, at what point do I recognize it as an opportunity to grow my faith - to be patient, to listen to the LORD in this? Do I doubt that God will provide? Have I not seen it, time and time in the pages of history and in my own life? Maybe it takes a little something out of the ordinary for me to recognize God working...

1 comment:

jlee said...

Good word on being able to look beyond our immediate reaction to a comment or action. I have a lot to learn about that. You gave me the advice to sometimes laugh off some criticism regarding sermon points.

Your examples in the Elijah story remind me that my daily interactions provide opportunities to be blessed and to be a blessing (even if it doesn't seem that way right away).

On another note, thanks for your friendship.