O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Get Up and Eat
Get Up and Eat
Based on 1 Kings 19:1-8
Preached on August 12, 2018
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In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Elijah. Faithful preacher. Courageously proclaimed God’s Word. Especially to those who would not hear it. To those who could snuff him out like a candle. Or crush him like a bug. Yes, even the king -King Ahab. And his wicked Cruella De Vil-like wife Jezebel who had in her payroll 850 false preachers. Preachers of false gods: Baal and Asherah.
There was a mighty show down on Mount Carmel. The issue? Who is the one true God? Baal? Asherah? Or the God of Israel, Yahweh?
Most of the people in Israel were apathetic. As long as they had their five weeks’ vacation, SUVs, dream homes, nice yards, 1.5 children, seventy-two inch LED screens, comfy leather furniture, closets full of shoes and clothes, iPhones, lap tops in every room, refrigerators full of Bud Lite, liquor cabinets flush with Bombay, Johnny Walker and Patron, and a humidor stuffed with Cubans, “WHO CARES ABOUT GOD?” Let alone who is the one true God!
“Baal? Asherah? Or Yahweh? Whatever! Like it matters Reverend Elijah! Now if you don’t mind, I’m trying to watch the latest episode of Israel’s Next Top Model! Don’t get me wrong Reverend, I don’t mean to be rude. Would you like beer? I don’t have time for this Mount Carmel bit.”
At Mount Carmel Jezebel’s yes men and their gods were shown to be what they really are: LIES! FALSE IDOLS! And that Yahweh was indeed the only, one true God that is to be trusted. The people of Israel who attended confessed: “Yahweh, He is God. Yahweh, He is God.” And Mount Carmel ended disastrously for Jezebel’s well-paid and pampered preachers. They were put to death. Every last one of them. By the sword. By Elijah himself!
When Jezebel hears about this effrontery, she is outraged. She takes a royal oath. She will hunt Troubler of Israel Elijah down. Day and night. Whatever it takes. Until he is found. Then her henchmen will give him a dose of his own medicine: death by the sword! You dished it out Elijah! Let’s see if you can take it!
And what does Elijah do? Pray? Boldly make an appointment to preach at the royal court? Perhaps a beer summit at the palace? Sit around a table with Ahab, Jezebel, and the remaining false prophets to hash out their disagreements. What a great photo op that would be! No. Elijah runs for his life!
He bolts. Leaves the northern kingdom. Heads to the deep south. To the southern kingdom’s desert outback. Why? To die! Elijah’s given up. Concludes that his ministry is over. That he has failed. Everything has been for nothing. All the preaching: fruitless. A complete waste of time. After all, the idolatry, apostasy, and theological poison continue to be spewed. And no one will stop it. Not the king. Not the queen. Not even God!
Elijah gives up. He runs. He chooses the place. A day’s journey in the wilderness. Sits under a juniper tree. Only then he will put his final plan of despair into motion. Only then does he pray. “O LORD, I’ve had enough. Take my life. I’m no better than my fathers who went before me and failed too.”
Given up. Given up on God. Preacher Elijah won’t trust the LORD anymore.
How about you? Had it with your church? With your life? With the Lord Himself? Want to run away? Pick a place of your own choosing? And die? Because it all appears to be a waste? A total fruitless waste?
“Then get up and eat!” The Lord was not done with Elijah. And He’s not done with you.
An angel appears. Not to provide the despondent preacher hospice care. Twice Elijah is given hot fresh bread to eat. And cool water to drink even when he insists on slipping into death. Twice he is commanded by the LORD’s angel: “get up and eat!” Why? Because the LORD has more work for Elijah to do. The Lord will still use Elijah as His instrument in the world. Mighty work. The LORD’s work. Of confronting more apostasy and idolatry.
Elijah will appoint a successor named Elisha. He will anoint kings! Hazael as king of Syria. And then Jehu to be king over Israel. So, “get up and eat Elijah! Otherwise your trip and your work will be too much for you.” And Elijah ate and drank. And went back to work. Trusting the LORD’s word regardless of everyone’s negative reaction to the tasks he was given to do.
Today, for you, not an angel but the Lord Jesus Himself bids you to get up and eat and drink. Jesus is the fruition of the Lord’s work through His prophet Elijah. Elijah’s work was not for nothing. Jesus is the true King of Israel come down from heaven to do His Father’s will in order to reign graciously among you. Jesus gets the low up – and gives them something to eat.
And His promise to you is this: “I AM the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger. Whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.” “Everyone who looks at the Son and believes in Him has eternal life and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” And then comes the clincher promise. The real zinger: “And the bread that I give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
A clear reference to Calvary. Good Friday. His death for you. For all your sin. For your apathy. For your straddling the fence about who’s really God. For all your running away. For all your not trusting in Him. For all your trying to call the shots with the LORD. For all the ways you’ve not engaged in the work here at Beautiful Savior. Forgiven.
Bread of Life King Jesus would still have you believe in Him. For eternal life. For a resurrection of the body on the last day. “Get up and eat.” To eat is to believe. In Him. And Him only.
You who believe in Bread of Life Jesus – do you know who you are? – you are the fruit of Elijah’s work too. His work was not for nothing. That remnant of believers remains even in the New Testament Israel, the church.
The Lord’s not through with you either. There is a lot of work for you to do. How many generations will you bless by your faithfulness? How many generations will the Lord fill because you get up and eat – because you trust Christ and His promises? Elijah had no clue how this story of him wanting to die would become so powerful - by God’s holy Word – for all the generations of believers after him. And you have no clue how the Lord will use you – and the faith He has given to you – Get Up and Eat. All you know is what He promises – that like Elijah – you have work to do – you have something eternal to offer the dying world – yes, you know the one true God – the forgiving One – who calls us to forgive each other, as He has forgiven us in Christ. Get up and eat. Proclaim Him. And you might as well start right here today.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the LORD’s death for you and for the entire world until He comes on the last day.
So happy eating. And happy drinking. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr