by Christopher Harbin

Today's Danger
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Kings 18:1-16

Yesterday's struggles pave a path for our current actions and attitudes. We often learn from our experiences and recall them to give us courage and orientation in the more immediate issues we face. At the same time, the lessons of the past do not always carry us to the same point of confidence they might if we truly learned those lessons. The dangers and perils of the past seem to fade with the years as we set aside the anguish of another year to face the current storms around us. How can we learn from God's faithfulness in the past to live in confidence today?

The Elijah stories are somewhat action packed in a way to clash with how the rest of 1st Kings simply drones on with listing the failures of Israel and Judah's kings. In a short space we see Elijah arise from nowhere, confront Ahab, fed by ravens, cared for by a widow, be used to bring her son back to life, and now head back to Israel to confront Ahab once more, this time with a pronouncement of the end of the drought. It's hard to remember at times that these events are described as occurring over a three year span of time. There is enough time passing between the highlights for Elijah and others to lose sight of this larger narrative of God's presence and action packed into a couple of pages of text.

The narrator is loud and clear about how time has passed, but we generally ignore it, anyway. We see the entire story happening, one event right on top of the other. Then we wonder at the attitudes displayed by certain characters who can't seem to recognize what Yahweh is doing in their midst. How can they be so blind to God's power, care, and dependability? Looking closer, we see they don't share our vantage point of seeing the whole story all together. They are living one event at a time, with no one to connect the dots for them.

We don't know much of Elijah's emotional journey through these first two chapters. The first glimps ...

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