What You’ve Missed…
* The book of Ecclesiastes. It’s more depressing than hearing someone say, “I like Twilight because I think it was really well written.”
* It’s more depressing than the ending to Million Dollar Baby. Or Gran Torino. Or any Clint Eastwood movie where he’s a bitter old man who acts his way into your heart, only to crush it with his fantastic writing and directing prowess.
* It’s more depressing than knowing I will never, ever marry Jennifer Connelly. (Sniff.)
* Six chapters of 1 Kings, listing a number of kings ruling in Israel and Judah, including Jehoshaphat, who never even jumps once. Lame.
Daily Reading: 1 Kings 17-19
Growing up in Sunday school, I often heard about the prophet Elijah. He’s considered a pretty big deal, and all good Christians are supposed to know all about him. Well, I’ve been faking it all this time, because all I really know is that he called down fire from heaven once. And that one time he was in a cave and heard God’s voice as a whisper. (Christians quote that one ALL the time.) I’ve heard other stories, but they’re all kind of fuzzy, partly because I’ve never read them for myself, and partly because I get them mixed up with the stories of his assistant, named Elisha. (Like the Bible isn’t confusing enough already.)
Anyway. So I’m reading about all these kings, when all of a sudden the Bible just starts talking about Elijah out of nowhere. And yes, it mentions him calling down that fire, and being in the cave, and bringing a dead kid back to life and other stories I probably should have known already. That stuff’s fascinating and everything, but the author has thrown some other gems in there I never heard about, and they kind of blew my mind. For example, Elijah could run faster than Superman.
If I had heard that when I was eight, then the Bible would have had my attention more than the Sunday comics. But no one told me, and so Calvin and Hobbes became the most influential writing in my life for the next 10 years.
But I digress. Where was I? Ah yes, Elijah and his gift of super-speed. So, what the heck am I talking about? Check this out:
“…Then Elijah shouted (to his servant), ‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home, If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you.’ ’ … A heavy wind brought a terrific storm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezereel. Then the LORD gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezereel.” (1 Kings 18:44-46)
Dude had “special strength” and ran AHEAD of a quickly moving chariot. Basically, God turned him into The Flash for the afternoon. No big deal.
But that’s just the beginning, because it turns out, Elijah experienced tons of crazy stuff. At one point God tells him to go camp out and live by some river, and that birds will bring him food.
“So Elijah did as the LORD told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook.” (1 Kings 17:5-6)
Keep in mind he didn’t train these birds. They just brought him stuff. And we’re not talking twigs and berries and worms. They brought meat, and bread. In short, the guy was feasting on free Big Macs left and right. Delivered personally by Mother Nature herself.
Here’s one more. Elijah encounters King Ahab’s servant, Obadiah, and asks him to go tell the king he’d like to meet with him. Obadiah isn’t too thrilled because the king isn’t much of an Elijah fan, and Obadiah thinks Elijah might not be there when the king arrives, and that the king will kill Obadiah for all the trouble. But here’s the crazy part. Obadiah doesn’t think Elijah will just wander off like every awestruck kid in Toys ‘R’ Us, but is afraid of something else entirely.
“…as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you away to who knows where…” (1 Kings 18:12)
Another translation (The Message) says, “…as soon as I leave, the Spirit of the LORD will whisk you away…and you’ll have disappeared.” So, what our boy Obadiah is really talking about here is that God will just teleport Elijah somewhere. It sounds crazy to me too. But here’s what really gets me. Why would Obadiah even assume this is what would happen? It’s pretty ridiculous to assume the default probability of the situation is that God would just “whisk someone away.” Unless you live in a different universe than I do, where Scotty beams people up left and right in real life, then there’s clearly something wrong with Obadiah’s thinking here.
Here’s what I think is happening: Elijah has a reputation for being whisked away by the Spirit of God. That it happens to him often enough for people to assume it could happen at any moment. That’s how I see it. And that’s straight up crazy.
So, in conclusion, Elijah was The Beastmaster, The Flash, and the dude from Quantum Leap, who brought someone back from the dead. Now there’s a 3D summer blockbuster that’s worth $14.