The journey is too great for you… arise and eat…

Is our Journey too great?  Arise, Take and Eat

I Kings 19:1-8

In Jesus Name

As we journey toward the day when all are gathered around our Father’s throne, may we know the mercy and peace that comes from hearing His voice call to us and say,

Arise and eat…

Not the answer I want to hear!

          But it is the one I need to hear!

Tired,

 

Alone.

 

Exhausted.

 

Hunted,

 

Barely sleeping on the hard ground, as he hides under a tree with spikes for branches..

 

He’s at the end of his rope, a little while prior to hearing the angel’s voice, he had been praying that God would bring it all to an end, that God would take his life.

Not just because he’s had it, but also because he realizes that he’s not up to the challenge, he’s as weak as those who have gone before him.

“Enough is enough!” he cried….

 

And now, prodded and poked awake by the Angel of the Lord, the messenger of God, he hears the answer to his cry.. the answer he didn’t want to hear.

 

“the journey is too great for you….”

At first look, that is NOT the answer to my plea that I want to hear, as I try to go on in this life.  It’s not the answer I want to hear as I see the trauma of life around me, even as I look back to the blessed victories.

“the journey is too great for you…”

 

It may not be what we want to hear, even as I am sure Elijah would much rather have heard – “You can do it!”.  Instead, we hear with him,

 

“the journey is too great for you…”

 

And though we may not want to hear it, it is the exact answer we need to hear…
The Journey is long

          Even after victories

          Anxiety kicks in… why?

          We even can abandon those God sent to lift us up…

          We can even cry out as Elijah did..

 

In Elijah’s life, we see how fast things can change.  He barely had taken in the incredible victory over those who would lead God’s people deeper into sin, when his world falls apart. Ahab and 450 prophets of Ba’al were little challenge, as the god they made in their own image was proven non-existent,  Elijah even mocked them, suggesting their “god” was on vacation, or maybe using the bathroom.   That event ends with people praising God, the living God.  Good times, a revival moments away..

One victory is not the journey, and as high as that mountain top experience was, it all seems to come crashing down, as Jezebel’s demonic oath unsettles him, as he realizes he needs some rest, and the desire for rest is changed by anxiety into a desire to run and hide. As his praises and awe of God’s work in his life changes into pleas and despair, as he wonders how will he survive this time.

Well, not really, he doesn’t wonder, for if his words tell us that he doesn’t want to survive.  He wants God to come and collect him, to claim his life.  He is so dogged by this anxiety, this sense of failure, that he abandons the young man he mentors, whom he trains to trust God in everything!

Don’t we do that sometimes as well?  The very people God would have us mentor in life, those whom God sent to life us up, we unload on them, or worse, we abandon them, as we go and find some place to be miserable.   What is worse, we do it to God as well, instead of seeking His rest, His comfort, we just want to give up.

We might even cry out Maranatha – the Greek for Come Lord Jesus! Return NOW…. Not because we are desiring to be in heaven, but because we are so tired of this life,  so weary of all that challenge us.

I am not just talking about temper tantrums here, but those points in life, where life just doesn’t make any sense anymore.   Where exhausted, we crash wherever we think it will be safe for the moment.

How do we go on in such times?  It seems like I am asked that more and more..

Then we hear the voice of God agreeing that the journey is indeed… to much!

How do we go on?

We rest, we arise, we eat that which is provided…and healed by God, we find we walk in His strength. sustained by that bread He has provided.

 

We aren’t alone

          The Angel is the Angel of the Lord

          He to whom we Journey, is on the Journey with us

          He’s honest with us

          But He provides what we need for strength.. in a meal which sustains us til we reach

 

You see in these tough times we need to realize that, we can’t lose God’s presence, nor are we hidden from those He sends to minister to us, and the Spirit that has taken up residence in us, in our baptism.

 

As the Angel ministers to Elijah, it is good to remember that we talk about this specific Angel, who bears the title “the Angel of the Lord”, as being God himself.   All sorts of great theological discussion on this, but what matters here, more than that, is that we realize we aren’t on the journey of our lives alone, any more than Elijah was alone.

That’s a good thing – because, as the Angel of the Lord points out – with point blank honesty, “the journey is too much for you!”

No matter how strong our pride is, on our own, we aren’t strong enough to overcome in this life.  That pride, which says we can do it on our own, is simply our struggle with sin.  We do not like to depend on anyone, even God. Yet our journey is one we cannot manage alone, and when we try, we end up rolled under a bush somewhere, with God poking us awake, reminding us that He can and does provide for us.

We don’t need to be strong enough on our own, we don’t have to run ourselves into the ground, to the point where we think that we’ve had enough.  But even when we reach that point, we aren’t alone.  He is with us.  And…

He provides the rest we need.

 

He provides the strength we need…

 

He provides that which sustains us, the bread of life, the living water, a feast that sustains us throughout our entire period of suffering, our entire period of pain…

He’s here.

Cleansing us

 

Healing us…
Sustaining us, when we are too weak to go on.

 

Feeding us, that which will restore in us life, not just “barely surviving life” but the life which is rich and abundant…
He nourishes us with His Body, and with His Blood, even as He nourished Elijah with the bread that was brought to Him.

Arise, take and eat… the journey is to long for you… without my presence, without me.  But I will lift you up, I will strengthen you – the entire family of God.

As we were united with Christ in our baptism, as the cleansing of water and word brought us life together, so to that community is seen on our journey, as we celebrate the feast of Christ, the feast that is a prophecy, an inkling of the feast to come.

The Body and Blood of Christ, broken and shed for you! It is indeed so rich a blessing!  It gives life to road weary bones.  As we celebrate and feast, as we rest in a peace that assures us that we will complete this journey, not on our own strength, but in Christ, dwelling secure in His peace.

 

That is what makes this place, this time special, sacred.  The people of God being ministered too by God.  A God who knows when we face such challenges, when we are weary, when the journey is too long.  He comes to us, causes us to rest – feeds us that we may be strengthened, and go on, not weary, but in His strength.

 

So my weary friends, in a moment it’s time to rise and eat, as we prepare to continue our journey with Him

Maybe it is me, but this year so far is a wearying one… one which too often we try to do things in our own strength, and yes to make the journey alone.

It is time for that to end, not just for us, but for those out there who are weary, as broken, as in need of a poke from God, as in need to hear those words,
The journey is too great for you… arise and eat…

As you do, may this bread, this very body of Christ, nourish and sustain you, as you confidently continue in this journey of life, knowing that until we have all joined the angels and archangels, and the entire company of heaven, we journey sustained by Christ, dwelling in His peace.  AMEN

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 12, 2012, in Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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