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“Recalled” in a Success Driven World 1 Kings 19.1-18 The Success Driven World “S-U-C-C-E-S-S, that’s the way to spell success. Who is going to win it? We or They? – Nobody else but C.A.J.!” 1. Elijah as Successful 1.1 A Fire From Heaven: Elijah’s great underdog victory at Mt. Carmel

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the success driven world
The Success Driven World
  • “S-U-C-C-E-S-S, that’s the way to spell success. Who is going to win it? We or They? – Nobody else but C.A.J.!”
1 elijah as successful
1. Elijah as Successful

1.1 A Fire From Heaven:

  • Elijah’s great underdog victory at Mt. Carmel
  • 7 times the word “answer” is used in 1 Kings 18!
  • “Nobody could say whose victory had been greater, Yahweh’s or Elijah’s” [Frederick Buechner, Peculiar Treasures, 28]
1 elijah as successful5
1. Elijah as Successful

1.2 Rain as Promised:

  • Rain after the long drought
  • “Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.” [1 Kgs 18.42]
  • Elijah’s victory lap? – Was it establishing the priority of the prophetic over the monarch? [Cohen]
biblical spirituality
Biblical Spirituality
  • “History croons a low dirge over the overpowered heroes, but loud does its paean ring . . . for those who are crowned with success . . . . The Bible knows nothing of this intrinsic worth of success. On the contrary, when it announces a successful deed, it is duty bound to announce with utmost detail the failure involved in the success . . . this glorification of failure culminates in the long line of prophets whose existence is plain failure. They live in failure; failure is the breath of their nostrils, it is for them to fight and not to conquer.”
2 elijah as failure 1 kgs 19 1 8
2. Elijah as Failure – 1 Kgs 19.1-8

2.1 The Threat of Jezebel (1 Kgs 19.1-4):

  • “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”
  • The Greek appends: “If you are Elijah, then I am Jezebel!”
2 1 the threat of jezebel 1 kgs 19 1 4
2.1 The Threat of Jezebel (1 Kgs 19.1-4)
  • “Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there”
  • “But he himself 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 Yahweh, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
take away my life for i am no better than my ancestors
“Take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
  • Contrast with Job: “Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me! Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me like a crown; I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him.” (Job 31.35-37)
take away my life for i am no better than my ancestors11
“Take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
  • Elijah’s “ancestor” can be seen in the manipulative whining of Rebekah (Gen 27.46), when she covers for Jacobs deceits by says,

“I am weary of my life because the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

take away my life for i am no better than my ancestors12
“Take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
  • “Temptation does not usually come when we are ready for it." [Diogenes Allen, Temptation, 22]
take away my life for i am no better than my ancestors13
“Take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
  • “. . . no man can fight God's battle without being involved in humiliating defeat, even in what seems victory.” [Roland Wallace, Elijah and Elisha, 45]
  • George Bernanos, The Diary of the Country Priest:
2 elijah as failure 1 kgs 19 1 814
2. Elijah as Failure – 1 Kgs 19.1-8

2.1 Life in Failure (1 Kgs 19.5-8):

  • “Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat”
  • “He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again.”
2 1 life in failure 1 kgs 19 5 8
2.1 Life in Failure (1 Kgs 19.5-8)
  • “He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.”
  • Diogenes Allen: “We are not in charge of the circumstances in which our spiritual destiny is decided; we do not set the terms or the conditions by which we are to find God.” [Allen, Temptation, 22]
3 yahweh as successful 1 kgs 19 9 18
3. Yahweh as Successful – 1 Kgs 19.9-18

3.1 “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – Part 1 (19.9-10)

  • THE Cave?
  • “I have been very zealous on the behalf of Yahweh, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
  • “Go out and stand on the mountain before Yahweh, for Yahweh is about to pass by.”
3 yahweh as successful 1 kgs 19 9 1817
3. Yahweh as Successful – 1 Kgs 19.9-18

3.2 Yahweh’s Self-Revelation (19.11-13a):

  • “Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before Yahweh, but Yahweh was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but Yahweh was not in the earthquake;”
  • “and after the earthquake a fire, but Yahweh was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.”
  • When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
3 yahweh as successful 1 kgs 19 9 1818
3. Yahweh as Successful – 1 Kgs 19.9-18

3.3 “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – Part 2 (19.13b-18)

  • Go, return on your way . . . .”

a. “Anoint Hazael as king over Aram.”

b. “Anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel”

c. “Anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place”