Day 14 Sacred Season 2015
DAY 14. 22nd June An Answer in fire: 1 Kings 18:30-39 Rev Stephen Larkin, Nedlands Uniting Church, Western Australia.
Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.â Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice (1 Kings 18:37-38a NIV)
Basis of Union Paragraph 15: The Uniting Church acknowledges that Christ alone is supreme in his Church, and that he may speak to it through any of its councils. It is the task of every council to wait upon Godâs Word, and to obey Godâs will in the matters allocated to its oversight.
The situation was dire in Israel. There was a drought. There had been no rain for over 3 years. The whole country was suffering. Crops were withering, people were starving and dying. And out of this dryness emerges the prophet Elijah to challenge Ahab, king of Israel.
âLetâs have it outâ, challenges Elijah, âYour Baâal versus my God. Winner takes all.â So they prepare a sacrifice of a bull each and lay it on an altar of wood. Elijah then lays out the challenge.â Pray for your God to consume your sacrifice without you setting fire to the wood.â Nothing happens. Elijah, âencouragesâ, Elijah pokes fun. Nothing.
Elijah then orders water to soak his sacrifice. Water- the most precious commodity in the land. Four jars of water, then another four, and then another four.
In the midst of a drought, their most precious commodity, water, is wasted. But Elijah knew the drought was a symptom, not the solution. And so Elijah prays, not for rain, not even for fire, but that peopleâs hearts will be turned back to the true God. Elijah prayed and the fire fell and consumed the sacrifice, the wood and the water.
As I write this, Pentecost is in a few daysâ time where we celebrate the fire of God coming on those frightened and powerless disciples, fire that ignited their hearts and tongues to proclaim the praise of God, to call people to the true God, and to become a community that changed the world.
Fire is a symbol of power and empowerment and of cleansing.
These fires were not just game changers, but world changers. Thirsty and struggling men and women saw life completely differently through the action of the fire of God in their midst. They saw the refining power of God at work in their midst.
Too often we pray thinking we know the answer, we pray for what seems obvious, the water, the breaking of the drought, when we need to simply pray Elijahâs simple prayerâ âAnswer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.â
Prayer Gracious God, we ask that we and all the members of Assembly would have their hearts turned towards you. Too often our prayer presumes we know what your will should be. Give us ears that not just hear, but listen and obey, to the whispers of your Spirit. Empower us with the fire of your Spirit to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with You, our God. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.
Pray for: a) Unitingworld partner – Nauru Congregational Church
b) Synod of Western Australia . Ministry of PNEUMA in Western Australia