Collect of the Week
O Lord, Father of all mercy and God of all comfort, You always go before and follow after us. Grant that we may rejoice in Your gracious presence and continually be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
1 Kings 17:17-24 (Last Sunday’s Old Testament Reading)
17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!" 19 And he said to her, "Give me your son." And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?" 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child's life come into him again." 22 And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, "See, your son lives." 24 And the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth."
In the name of + Jesus.
Her son had died, and her first thought was that God was punishing her. She thought that God was using his death to heap on guilt upon her.
How often we do the same. A flat tire on the way home from work; a day when nothing seems to go the way you had planned; news from the doctor’s office isn’t what you had hoped; or even the same bad news that she had received—a loved one has died—and somewhere deep inside we wonder to ourselves, “What does God have against me? I knew I should have ________.”
To be sure, the calamity we face in this world is a result of sin, and sometimes, it is a result of our own sin. This world is broken, and unless the trumpet would sound, and the Son of Man would be seen coming down from above, that isn’t going to change. We are plagued by our sinful flesh, and daily fall short of the glory of God. Maybe that’s why we fear God’s wrath, and see the calamities of life as a sign of God’s judgment on our sin.
But God isn’t out to get you any more than He was out to get the woman at the death of her son. In order to relinquish her fear, God granted the prophet Elijah healing and resurrection to that woman’s son. And by his resurrection, the woman knew that God was not against her, and either was God’s prophet. In order to relinquish your own fear, God has granted us all the healing and resurrection of His own Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was stricken, smitten, and afflicted as the Father’s wrath was poured out on Him. If you want to see someone being punished for your sin, look there to the cross, and you will see where the wages of all your sin was paid for Jesus. That is where God’s wrath was poured out on your sin, so that you need not fear it being poured out on you today. And just as the woman’s son was raised to convince her of Elijah’s authority, Jesus was raised to convince you of the authority of His promises.
In a broken world, days don’t go as planned, and calamity falls upon us all. But God isn’t against you. His wrath has already been poured out on Jesus. And whatever you are given to endure in this world, because of the cross of Christ, you can do it knowing that God isn’t against you, but loves you enough to make your suffering temporary, and your joys eternal.
In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
In suff’ring be Thy love my peace, In weakness be Thy love my pow’r; And when the storms of life shall cease, O Jesus, in that final hour, Be Thou my fod and staff and guide, And draw me safely to Thy side! Amen (LSB 683, 4).