8.7.11 L19 P8 Lord over Fire and Chaos
  • Elijah was depressed
    • Despite his earlier role in God's huge victory over the false prophets, Queen Jezebel and King Ahab sought revenge by placing a bounty on Elijah's life
    • Tired, and scared, Elijah dragged himself through the wilderness to seek refuge in the cave on Mount Horeb where centuries ago Moses had encountered God and received the commandments
    • Surely this ancient and holy place would comfort him as his life seemed to unravel, and his prophetic ministry was thrown into chaos
  • There at Horeb, indeed God did seek out Elijah, but certainly NOT in the way the prophet expected
    • "What are you doing HERE?" God asked
    • As if God didn't already know, Elijah quickly explained how faithless the people were, how he alone was faithful, and how his life was in danger
    • So God told Elijah to go and stand at the mouth of the cave
    • First there was a wind so great that it shattered rocks
    • Then there was an awesome earthquake
    • And finally there was a burst of fire
    • But God was not. . . God was NOT in either the wind, the quake, or the fire
    • And after the unleashed power of creation had ceased, and after the dust had literally quietly and quietly settled, there in the silence Elijah once again heard a whisper – just a hushed little whisper – "What are you doing HERE Elijah?"
    • And once again Elijah started to tell his sad story, but God would have none of it
    • "Go!" God said!
      • Go and anoint two kings who will be faithful
      • Go and anoint your successor whom you will mentor and lead
      • And by the way, Elijah, you are NOT alone – there are 7,000 people in Israel who are faithful and have not worshiped false gods!
  • In the gospel, the disciples were not depressed like Elijah – they were just plain scared
    • The seas were rough, the winds were strong, and although most of them were experienced fishermen with lots of experience on the Sea of Galilee, they were making no headway in their little boat
    • But then what did they see but a figure walking on the water!
    • Now they were many centuries too early to have seen all the Pirate of the Caribbean movies with Captain Jack Sparrow, but here's the thing . . . sailors – whether it was the fishermen disciples of Jesus' day, or the strange crew of the Black Pearl, or even many sailors today – sailors tend to be a superstitious lot
    • The sea is a dangerous place, and wherever there is danger, there are stories, and superstitions, and folklore about danger and safety – even the Psalms and Job refer to Leviathan the great sea monster – and so in the midst of the storm the very LAST person they expected to see was Jesus walking on the water
    • And if Jesus walking on the water wasn't enough, Peter was invited out and he stood on the water until he got scared and began to sink
  • So what do we make of all this?

    • Elijah was depressed and in the wrong place, so God encountered Elijah NOT in the chaos of creation at it's most destructive, but God encountered Elijah in the small voice that put him back on track and pushed him forward in mission
    • The disciples were scared, so Jesus encountered them NOT in the sea and all its chaos, but Jesus encountered them as Lord not only over their lives, but as Lord over the sea and all creation as well
    • And what about us?
      • There is a line between the creation and the creator – and this line has been blurred in times both ancient and modern, when people have confused creation and creator, as if "mother earth" were somehow the creator itself, rather than the wonderful product of the creator
        • The wind may blow, the earth may quake, and fire may rage, but remember – and let us tell others, GOD is not in the wind, quake or fire
          • In fact, God often speaks in whispers and nudges, rather than shouts and shoves
        • The wind may blow, the water may rage, but the same Jesus who is Lord over the storm is even Lord not only over us, and not only over creation, but intimately this Jesus is Lord over sin and death
  • And that is the Good News!
  • God is the Creator of all! Jesus is Lord over all, including Lord over you and me, including Lord over sin and death, and including Lord over all the chaos that otherwise would threaten to undo us.
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