Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

 

Today the LCMS commemorates Elijah.

The prophet Elijah, whose name means, “My God is Yahweh [the Lord],” prophesied in the northern kingdom of Israel, mostly during the reign of Ahab (874 – 853 B.C.).

Ahab, under the influence of his pagan wife Jezebel, had encouraged the worship of Baal throughout his kingdom, even as Jezebel sought to get rid of the worship of Yahweh. Elijah was called by God to denounce this idolatry and to call the people of Israel back to the worship Yahweh as the only true God (as he did in 1 Kings 18:20-40).

Elijah was a rugged and imposing figure, living in the wilderness and dressing in a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt (2 Kings 1:8). He was a prophet mighty in word and deed. The Lord worked many miracles through Elijah, including the raising of the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24) and the effecting of a long drought in Israel (1 Kings 17:1).

At the end of his ministry, he was taken up into heaven as Elisha, his successor, looked on (2 Kings 2:11). Later on, the Lord proclaimed through the prophet Malachi that Elijah would return before the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6), a prophecy that was fulfilled in the prophetic ministry of John the Baptist (see Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:1-19).

Source: Aardvark Alley: + The Holy Prophet Elijah +.

And from Cyberbrethren, a prayer for today:

Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Elijah, You continued the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles your presence in creation to heal it is its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church, through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

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“Higher Things” Reflection for July 9

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sometimes it can be discouraging to consider how few Christians there seem to be in the world. The world is filled with people who don’t believe in Jesus or even those who outright hate Him. And even if it seems like there are a lot of Christians, they all believe different things, many the opposite of what you confess. It’s pretty sad.

Elijah thought the same thing. In fact, he though there were no people left who still believed in God’s promises. The King was evil and his wicked wife, Jezebel, was hunting down the prophets of God. They supported false religion and Elijah was sure he was the last Christian around. But the Lord said that wasn’t true. Not only were there 7,000 in Israel who had not forsaken the faith, the Lord was working things out so that His enemies were destroyed and His kingdom continued.

Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose again, defeating death. That was the promise that was made to Israel before He was born and it is the promise that we have believed since His resurrection and ascension. In every age and period of history, it has looked like the church was done for. Yet kingdoms have risen and fallen and still Christ’s church remains. Still the Lord causes the Good News of Jesus to be preached. Still people are baptized and rescued from sin and death. Still the Word is preached and sinners are comforted. There is always a church because the Lord won’t let His people be wiped out. Ever.

It’s impossible to believe that. That’s why Jesus gives us “marks” or “signposts” to identify His church: where Christ crucified and risen for sinners is preached; where Baptism washes away sins; where the body and blood of Jesus are given to sinners to eat and drink. Where those gifts are given out, you can be certain that Jesus is there with His church, promising that there is nothing in heaven or earth that can wipe out His people. And that includes you! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Stay with us, Lord, and keep us true; Preserve our faith our whole life through Your Word alone our heart’s defense, The Church’s glorious confidence. LSB 585:6

Source: Higher Things : July 9, 2012 – Monday of the Fifth Week after Trinity.