Today's Lectionary Text
1 Kings 17:17-24
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. She then said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!” But he said to her, “Give me your son.” He took him from her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging, and laid him on his own bed. He cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” The Lord listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” So the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”
Crisis is always inevitable and challenging. Crisis is unpredictable and shakes humanity. The COVID-19 plague has ravaged the world and changed the social life of our diverse cultures. The scripture read reminds us of the human crisis during Elijah’s great ministry in Israel and the Gentile world.
Elijah: the great prophet faced great calamity at Zarephath, which belonged to Sidon. He had dwelt there according to God’s instruction. “Then the word of the LORD came to him: Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food." (1 Kings 17:8-9).
After experiencing the joy of the multiplication of the oil and flour, the widow experienced the death of her only son. That was so devastating and depressing. How could this happen in the presence of a prophet? But why God? Her hard question to the prophet was, “What have you against me O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!” These are hard questions we all ask in times like these. Our communities are facing calamities and want answers from us, the church. People are dying from the pandemic of the coronavirus, cancer, floods, hurricanes, tornados and addictions. The list is long.
Elijah had to question his prophetic call in such a deadly situation. Then he cried out to the LORD; "LORD my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" (1 Kings 17:20) I assume we all ask God questions during this COVID-19 pandemic. It's beyond human will to fathom these happenings. Great miracles of healing, joyous life moments of graduations, family times, church visions and planning, job promotions, and traveling is currently being overwhelmed by the pandemic of COVID-19. Where is God in this worldly crisis?
There is always good news in any crisis. God is powerful and owns the whole world. Elijah had to prove that he was a prophet after being challenged by the Gentile widow; “Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20Then he cried out to the LORD, "LORD my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" (1 Kings 17:19-20)
The world is questioning God and looking for answers and comfort now. Elijah took the dead son into his upper chamber and cried before God. Yahweh listened to the prayers of the desperate prophet Elijah. The good news is that God hears our prayers in any situation. The widow’s son was brought back to life in haste. Wow! Just through prayer and grace, the problem was defeated. God, who is still on the throne, will defeat the pandemic of COVID-19. Therefore, we must be encouraged that Yahweh, the God of Elijah is with us.
There was breaking news in Zarephath, “The prophet Elijah raised the widow’s son from death.” Crisis defeated! The woman was amazed and said, “Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth." (1 Kings 17:24)
Saints of God, the world will truly know that our Yahweh answers prayers. Psalmist encourages us by saying: “Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. 2You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.” (Psalm 65:1-2)
Lessons to learn from Scripture:
--Pastor Ever Mudambanuki
United Church of Bennington and Solomon Yoked Parish
Prayer for Reflection
O God, hear our prayers as we face the challenges of the evil days. Resurrect the dead situations in our communities, families, states, nations and continents, Amen.
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