1Kgs 17:1-6; Ps 121:1-8; Mt 5:1-12
Because the LORD God neither slumbers nor sleeps, the prophet of the LORD God can rest in safety. Indeed King David and all who pray the psalms in spirit and truth know that their help is from the LORD who made heaven and earth. All the faithful urgently lift up their eyes toward the mountains. From whence shall help come to them? Only upon prayer in great pain do we realize that our help comes from the LORD. He will not suffer our foot to slip and he slumbers not nor sleeps the guardian of Israel. The LORD is the protector and guide for those whom he has chosen to sing his psalms and speak his prophecy. We, who have been baptized into Christ, share in his priestly and prophetic ministry. We, too, are summoned to sing the words of the psalms and to proclaim the words of the prophets. In our faithful witness to the LORD, He, himself, becomes our shade from the relentless heat of the desert sun. The LORD is at our right hand and the sun does not harm us by day or the moon by night. Indeed, the LORD will guard us from all evil; he is the guard of our whole life, of our going and coming, both now and forever. The Prophet Elijah had to flee from King Ahab, and the LORD took care of his prophet by water in the Wadi Cherith and with food brought by the ravens. Part of the blessing of following the King of Prophets, the Lord Jesus, is persecution. Just as all the prophets before the Lord Jesus were persecuted, so too, are all who live under the influence of the Prophetic Spirit of the Lord Jesus. Without persecution there are no prophets.
Ahab was a less than faith-filled king; he was hesitant to trust completely in the LORD, the God of Israel. Like his fathers before him, Ahab sought to secure his power in Israel though political alliances with pagan nations. King Ahab saw Elijah as an enemy, and he was afraid of his powerful word. No nation, no individual, can survive long without water. The LORD, the God of Israel commanded his Prophet to announce a drought by which he hoped to summon the people back to trusting in his power to save them. After making such a public challenge to the King and to his countrymen, Elijah needed a place to hide. The LORD took care of the man of God, Elijah. Elijah did trust in the LORD, and he was well taken care of while the king and the whole people began to learn from their hunger and thirst, which was only a sign of their deepest hunger and thirst for the Living God. Indeed, we too, are to learn the painful lessons that our ancestors had to learn. Without the Word of Prophecy, without the Wisdom from On High, we cannot survive. We cannot dig deeply our roots in the good soil and bear fruit that will last. We loose all blessing when we fail to trust in the LORD the God of Ahab, and the God of Israel, even when they turned their backs to him, even when they saw his Prophet as an enemy. The real enemy of the New Israel is not Elijah. The real enemy of the New Israel is a drought of the Word of God.
The Lord Jesus is the New Moses, the Promised Prophet; indeed he is the New Elijah. He climbs the mountain of the LORD and sits down among all who listen. From within our midst the Lord still teaches us about true blessing. The world teaches us that it is a blessing to be wealthy, but they dismiss the true treasure of the Kingdom. The world teaches us that it is a blessing to laugh at human weakness and sin, but they fail to weep for the victims of weakness and the disasters of sin. The world teaches us that it is necessary to assert ones self-importance, but they only inherit the wind, the bluster of their arrogance. The world teaches us to enjoy feasting on vanity, but they fail to satisfy the real hunger for the one thing that matters, holiness. The world teaches us to be ruthless with our enemies and let them know our wrath, but they never show mercy lest our enemies think us weak. The world teaches us to cram our minds with images that titillate, but they have no room in the heart for the vision of true beauty. The world teaches us to be sure of our loyalty, but it never recognizes the fellowship of peace in the family of the children of God. The world teaches us to be secure in our identity, but it fails to teach us that suffering is more than a needless part of the human adventure. Indeed, today those who listen to and follow the way of Jesus, the way of the cross, more and more threaten the world. Indeed, there is no rejoicing or gladness for us in this world; there is only the blessing of the prophet—persecution. Yet, the New Elijah, the Lord Jesus, will provide ravens to feed us, and streams of living water to refresh us. Indeed, our true life is hidden in the mysteries of the liturgy.