First Reading: 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21
15Then the Lord said to [Elijah,] “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.
19So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. 20He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” 21He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
One frustration I have when we have lessons assigned for a Sunday is that we don’t get the WHOLE story – just a bit of it. And the story here is a great story.
I suggest that what you do today before you go any further with this devotion is open up a Bible and read chapter 18 and 19 of 1st Kings up to verse 19:15. Go ahead, I will wait for you. I promise…
Elijah wins a great battle against the prophets of Baal. But in doing so, he has a bounty on his head. He runs away, and he asked God that he might die.
1 Kings 19:4 reads, “…[Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’
I heard it said that every time in scripture when someone asks that God might take their life, God has something else in mind. Every time.
God has other plans. There are times those individuals in the Bible have given up on themselves, but God hasn’t given up on them. God has plans. God will make a way. God doesn’t give up.
I have had several visits with members over the years who in their later years and poor health wonder why God doesn’t “take them.” When I hear them say this, I am reminded of Elijah. God has plans. And I have found that the visits I have with these saints among us are some of the richest blessings I receive as a pastor. Their lives are rich with stories of faith and service and love.
May this be a word of encouragement for you as well – when there are times you just want to give up, God has other plans. For you are God’s beloved, and God will make a way for you as well.
Let us pray: Almighty God, be with us in the times of despair and anguish. Hear our cries. Calm our fears, Lift us up and guide us with your love. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen