Pentecost 10, Proper 14, Year A
Deacon Cindy Roehl
How many of you have ever played football? Tackle football? A pastor by the name of David Simpson shared that, when he was a kid, he started playing football. He asked his coach if he could be the fullback, one of the running backs for the team. But after being tackled by a group of about eight guys, he decided he didn’t want to TOUCH the ball anymore. At least – not for a while.
You see, there is one very basic element of football that is the key to victory. When you get knocked down, whether blocked or tackled, you have to get back up and continue the game. No matter what level of football you play – midget league, neighborhood, or high school, college or pros – know this: You will get knocked down. What do you do when you get knocked down? You get back up. You don’t have to play football to get knocked down. There are circumstances in life that knock us down quite often. Accidents, illnesses, finances, broken relationships, job stresses, pandemics, changes in our routine.
As we saw in our reading this morning, Elijah was knocked down by depression and self-pity. Queen Jezebel received word that he had killed her pagan prophets and so she sent her guys out to kill Elijah, so he ran for his life, and eventually ended up hiding in a cave. It’s interesting how the Lord works sometimes, isn’t it? We go through our turmoil, we’re frustrated, angry, scared, and if someone were to ask us what we would like God to do to fix all this, our answer may be quite different than what God actually does.
The Lord comes to Elijah and asks, “Why are you here, Elijah?” And he says, “I’ve been passionate for the Lord God because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant. They have torn down your altars and murdered your prophets. And I’m the ONLY ONE left, and now they want to take my life, too!” Poor Elijah. If we were there hearing him, there’s a number of things we might say to him, right? Or do for him. But the Lord said, “GO OUT and stand at the mountain before the Lord. The Lord is passing by.”
While this whole event is inspiring, one thing I picked up on is, after the wind and the earthquake and the fire, when he, then, heard the quiet sound, like a whisper, Elijah wrapped his face in his coat and he WENT OUT and stood at the cave’s entrance.”
Wait, back up. Didn’t the Lord say to him earlier to “Go out and stand at the mountain before the Lord, that the Lord is passing by?” Apparently, he didn’t “go out” when God told him to. Not until God’s thin, quiet whisper. And when a voice came to him again saying, “Why are you here, Elijah?” Elijah again says the same words, “I’ve been passionate for the Lord God because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant. They have torn down your altars and murdered your prophets. And I’m the ONLY ONE left, and now they want to take my life too!”
Read the full sermon text HERE.
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