Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Motorcade and Wisdom of God

I've blogged on 1 Kings 19 before here.

Elijah meets the Word (Christ) in the cave, who tells him to go out and stand in the presence of the LORD (Father) who is about to pass by. What follows is wind, earthquake and fire before the peaceful and gentle, (but by no means quiet) voice of the Almighty is heard.

Why the wind, earthquake and fire?

Jordan suggests they are part of the motorcade of God that goes before him. Kings used to have soldiers and horsemen proceed in front of them, before you saw the carriage they were in. President Obama will have any number of vehicles in front of him before you see him go past in his "beast."

Another way to think of it is like an underground train approaching the station platform you're standing on. First you feel the movement of air, then you hear the sound of the wheels on the track, then you see the lights in the distance before the train itself finally rolls in.

The same happened back in Exodus 19, as the LORD (Father) descended to meet the LORD (Christ: Jude 5) who had ransomed this people out of Egypt.

This time round however, Elijah is not as forgiving as his forbear Moses. Where Moses interceded for the people, Elijah says in effect, let 'em have it. Why this "failure" of grace on Elijah's part?

The competition with the prophets of Baal back in the previous chapter (18) wasn't just some power mongering Who's the Abba / Daddy face off for competing deities, it was a judgment on the nation. In saying that the God who answers by fire is truly God, Elijah is saying that the winner God has authority and power to judge.

Had the Baals any power, they would probably have sent fire capriciously on all the people, (because they can) but they don't and these false prophets wear themselves out calling into the air.

Then Yahweh, sends the fire of his wrath and judgment, not onto the idolatrous king Ahab and the people he has led into sin, but onto a substitute - a bull sacrifice. Not only that, but with God's anger soaked up by the sacrifice, his gracious face is turned to the land again and the sound of rain is soon heard, a sound that has been missing for three years.

Yet after all this, far from humbling themselves before God, Ahab and his wife Jezebel, go after Elijah even harder than before, causing him to run back to Sinai (aka Horeb) where the law was first given, to bring a lawsuit against this idolatrous king and his people.

The LORD (Father) answers. He is about to do as Elijah has requested and remove this idolatrous king, shown in the fact that he orders Elijah to anoint Jehu as king of Israel and reminds Elijah that there is nevertheless a perfect remnant (7000) left in the land, meaning that whilst it is time to judge the king, it is not yet time to judge the people.

However, peeved and vexed Elijah might feel, God is not caught off guard and his plans will not be thwarted.

And so it is today. God's anger and grace have both been perfectly revealed at the cross of his Son - Jesus Christ. His grace extends to all, both those who receive him and those who refuse to humble themselves before him, but that gracious offer will not last for ever.

The merciful motorcade of God is passing through. Will you humble yourself and jump on board or stay behind and be without the divine defender when the wrath of God is finally and fully unleashed on those who refused to have Christ take it for them?

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