S-1133 8/09/09 9SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #902 (S) #684; L.S. #625; #623; #629 (C) #917
Texts 1 Kings 19:1-8; Ephesians 4:17-5:2; John 6:35-51
Theme: “Arise and Eat (1 Kings 19:5-7)
Question: “When was the last you said to someone. ‘Get up and eat?’”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Old Testament lesson: “And he [Elijah] lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.’” (1 Kings 19:5-7).
FYI: During the sermon hymn, my head usher will come up and set up a table near the pulpit. On the table will be a variety of energy drinks such as "Full Throttle", "5 Hour Energy Extra Strength" and chewing gum, "Energy Gum" Not recommended for children" and "power bar", energy bar”, “Granola bars” etc.
Saints in Christ, in our reading today, we meet the mighty mantled man of God Elijah having a pity-party and wishing God would take his life. It is interesting to read this account in lieu of what took place before. It wasn’t long ago that this mighty servant of the Most High God defied the 450 prophets of Baal—challenged them once and for all to declare who the true God IS. The challenge was that each would build an altar, place a bull on it and call upon god to send fire from heaven. Whoever answers the prayer is the true God. Elijah built an altar, doused it with water that everything was soaking wet. He called upon the God of the Universe to bring forth fire from heaven and prove Himself that He is the ONLY TRUE GOD. God answered His prayer and the offering, rocks, and dirt, were all burned. And the 450 prophets of Baal were killed by Elijah’s sword.
But that was yesterday, today, Jezebel the wicked queen of the North, swore that she was ready to kill him as he had done to the false prophets. Hearing those words Elijah grabs his mantle stuffs it into his belt and runs for his life. On the journey he gets tired and lays down beneath a broom. He asks God to take his life because he is no better than his forefathers.
However, the Lord has other plans. Instead of hearing the prayer of Elijah to take away his life, God does something most amazing, He sends His angel “The Angel of the Lord” who prepares a mighty mean meal to feed Elijah and at his command says, “Arise and Eat!” Elijah gets up eats and lies down again. A second time “The Angel of the Lord” prepares another powerful meal to feed Elijah and at his command says, “Arise and Eat!” Having eaten from the baked cake and drank from the water jug, Elijah travels 40 days and 40 nights.
What kind of food is that? What was in it that made the messenger of God travel that distance without needing any food or drink? We don’t really know. But what we do know is that when God is the chef and server the food He gives is mighty indeed and the benefits are everlasting. PAUSE.
Beloved in the Lord, as you can see on this table (there are many items) these items on the market when eaten and drank from suppose to boost your energy level to grant you to do more things. Here is one that supposes to boost your level of energy for 5 hours. The label on the can reads: “hours of energy now—no crash later” Here is another—it is gum. This gum is so strong they have a label that reads “Not recommended for children". Wow! Some kind of gum! How about the “power bar?”
You and I in this world look for things to give us the energy that we need—whether it is a drink, gum, or meal. These things suppose to keep us going and going and going, like the Energizer Bunny. It may work for a moment, but then comes the crash. Nothing works to give us endless energy. Nothing keeps the old man going; except God the Creator of this body.
He knows what we need. We see Elijah’s need being met today as the “Angel of the Lord” touches Him and invites him to “Arise and Eat!” and when Elijah does he receives power from on high. Consider this power that is given with these gifts of food and drink. Enough strength and stamina to travel 40 days/nights. Everything else pales in comparison to what the true POWER given by God.
Elijah is not alone to receive such a wonderful meal served by such an amazing host—the Angel of the Lord. This Angel of the Lord is none other that Jesus Christ Himself. The Holy Meal at the altar, (will point to the altar here) is the food and drink we need. Not like these items (at the table) here that gives you temporary boost. But real food and real drink that satisfies both body and soul. This meal will not only give you energy for 40 days/nights, but to eternity.
You and I as the redeemed of the Lord need to understand the command (with the promise) “Arise and Eat!” It is very important and crucial for us to know that this command is given by Christ Himself the Bread of heaven. The command to “Arise and Eat” is the same for today - what is on the Table for us; this Meal of Forgiveness is ours as surely as it was Elijah’s. His inability is also our inability. His journey is our journey - sure and certain, for God does not simply go “with us” as a side-car alongside a motorcycle, He abides with us and in us, cake = body, water = reference to Baptism, yes, surely, He is Elijah’s meal and ours.
Without Christ in our lives we are discouraged and have no hope. When we don’t see the hand of God guiding and leading us, we begin to have a pity party just like Elijah. When our eyes are not looking on the One who is able to do for us more than we can even ask or imagine, we loose focus of our relationship to Him and with Him. And the result?...discouragement! Elijah was discouraged, the 12 were discouraged, even the crowd in the Gospel reading today became discouraged and so do we become discouraged.
But not today! Today, you and I are in the midst of our wilderness journey. Here Christ our Host and Meal meets us and feeds us and encourages us to go on in His name on the journey of life. PAUSE.
Elijah got up and ran away because he was afraid of what might happen to him. Elijah faced a formidable opponent in Queen Jezebel. So formidable that he ran away for his life; but not our “Angel of the Lord”, Jesus Christ. He, too, faced a formidable foe—the devil, the punishment, the cross, the wrath of God, death and the grave. But Jesus didn’t run away, but ran to face the cross. As the book of Hebrews reminds us clearly: “Looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
Jesus faced the enemy on Calvary’s Holy Mountain head on. Sure He gave His life for Elijah, you and me. But in that death, we have life. In the tree of the cross we have the tree of life and the empty tomb we have heaven opened.
Elijah got up and ran away. But the “Angel of the Lord” asked him to “Arise and eat!” He does the same for us. He tells us “Arise and eat” today. Soon you will be rising from your pews. You will come to dine on the bread of heaven and the drink of heaven—Christ’s body broken for YOU; Christ blood shed for YOU and with that Gift you will go on the journey of life to eternity.
With this Meal of Love prepared by Christ Himself you will have all the stamina, strength and staying power you need. And Isaiah reminds us of this power when he wrote these words: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
The Angel of the Lord invited Elijah to “Arise and Eat!” And Elijah did. Therefore, I say to you dear saints in Christ, “Arise and Eat,” for the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is here today, inviting you to be His guests, and serve you a powerful Meal in His Body and Blood. Amen.
Now the peace…