"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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God Speaks to Elijah
1 Kings 19:1-18 Commentary
by Brent A. Strawn
This Old Testament reading ranks among the most famous of Old Testament texts.
Elijah's flight to the wilderness and his encounter with God in "a still small voice" (KJV, NKJV) is well known. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt, however, so good preachers will need to guard against the well-known nature of the text leading to inattention on the part of the congregation (or the preacher herself!). The text is pregnant with theological riches when one takes time to sit with it and not assume one already knows what it has to say.
Verse 9 is split across two paragraphs in NRSV and so the preacher will need to indicate something of the back story (especially Elijah's conflicts with Ahab, Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel; see 1 Kings 18) that leads up to the reading. In particular "that place" (19:9) will need to be specified -- that place is "Horeb, God's mountain" (19:8). The specificity of the location lends color and depth to Elijah's encounter.
This is the same mountain, after all, where Moses communed with God, saw God's backside, and ...
| Bible Text
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL289: God Speaks to Elijah
November 05, 2017
This is the podcast for 1 Kings 19:1-18, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Nov. 5, 2017, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.