As you read about Elijah

There is a bright Elijah thread that weaves throughout the Bible.

The book of Sirach names him as one of God’s greatest proclaimers and prophets.

Then Elijah arose, a prophet like fire, and his word burned like a torch.

He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number.

By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, and also three times brought down fire.

How glorious you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!

Whose glory is equal to yours?

Sirach 48

It is the Old Testament book of Kings that continues Israel’s story of the lineage of David and Solomon.

By Elijah’s time, Israel’s story had become a sad history of rebellion and civil war. David’s united kingdom had fractured into two separate nations: the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.

In 1 Kings 16, the storyteller of the northern kingdom says this:

Now Ahab son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. And Ahab did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him.

Ahab was breaking bad and his queen Jezebel may have been even worse. Elijah was the prophet God sent to stand against them and challenge their wickedness. It was a thankless dangerous job and King Ahab disdained Elijah as the “troubler of Israel.”

Usually Elijah’s courage was remarkable.
Continue reading “As you read about Elijah”

As You Read. Weeks 16 and 17.

The Book of Numbers does what it says: it names and numbers Israel.

Here we find numerous lists of tribes and families listed and counted. Here is another origins document naming the original members of this newly called out tribal people; a people who will eventually become the nation and kingdom of Israel.

As it opens, Numbers is set at the holy mountain, Sinai (or Horeb as it is sometimes named) and its first ten chapters complete the Exodus story about the giving of the Law.

Exodus 19:1 to Numbers 10:10 describes how this ragtag rescued people were received into a formal covenant of relationship with the God who brought them out of Egypt. Here they receive instructions about how to live within this covenantal relationship.

Continue reading “As You Read. Weeks 16 and 17.”
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