Day 167: Viaticum
1 Kings 19:1-8 Fearing for his life under Jezebel’s threat, Elijah fled to the wilderness in the land of Judah and prayed for a natural death. His forty days and nights in the desert is a type of the forty days and nights that Christ would spend in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry, and the miraculous feeding by an angel is a type of the Eucharist (TYPOLOGY X 2!!) The number forty in Scripture is symbolic of a long period of preparation for a special task. (CCC 332, 2583)
Ch 19:9-18 In this scene, God was not present in his traditional kinds of theophanies (a visible manifestation to humankind of God), from which Elijah hid in the rock; rather, he manifested himself in “A STILL, SMALL VOICE.” It was a sign of things to come in which God’s Word and inspiration would come largely through less spectacular means and eventually through Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God made flesh. The Lord sent Elijah back into the wilderness with instructions to anoint kings for Syria and Israel as well as to anoint Elisha as a prophet to Israel.
Seven thousand: God indicated that there was a significant population of Israel that had remained faithful despite Ahab’s idolatrous practices. (CCC 436, 2583)
Ch 19:19-21 The immediate willingness of Elisha to follow Elijah and leave everything behind points to Christian discipleship in which “no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9:62). True discipleship requires complete detachment from all things and a complete subordination and dedication to the fulfillment of the will of God. (CCC 2427)
Ch 20:1-21 The greed of King Ben-hadad led to war with Israel, and Ahab, despite his sins, had the Lord on his side according to an anonymous prophet.
Ch 20:22-43 Returning with a new strategy, the Syrians attacked but were defeated by Israel’s forces. Ahab reached an agreement with Ben-hadad that spared the Syrian leader’s life. However, a prophet proclaimed that Ahab’s life would be required of him for not consulting the Lord before deciding Ben-hadad’s fate after the Lord had delivered him into Ahab’s hands.
2 Chronicles 20:1-37 The king petitioned God to allow Judah to fight against the triumvirate that was about to attack, and God consented on the condition that the soldiers of Judah simply stand by and watch. As they did, the three invading armies turned on one another and annihilated each other. The statement in this chapter about the high places remaining (cf. 20:23) seems to contradict an earlier statement about the high places being removed (cf. 17:6), but the two are NOT in contradiction: the pagan artifacts were removed from Judah but were not destroyed in the Northern Kingdom.
Song of Solomon 6:1-3 The bond of marriage is permanent, lasting until death. This relationship established by God is so intimate that the spouses belong to each other: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (CCC 796, 1605, 1616, 1646, 2335)
Ch 6:4-13 The lover sings the praises of his beloved’s beauty, comparing her even to Tirzah and Jerusalem, the respective capitals of Israel and Judah. This image suggests that the bride is as beautiful as the Promised Land that the people of Israel had sought in earnest for so long. Once found, their happiness was made all the more sweet given the many challenges and hardships preceding its discovery.
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
The Fall of Israel
Even after the amazing events of Mount Carmel, Ahab’s heart, like Pharaoh’s, remains hard.
He remains loyal to Jezebel, who in turn promises to kill Elijah.
In spite of this, God delivers the Syrian army threatening Israel into the hands of Ahab.
Ahab, however, fumbles this victory by disobeying God, giving the leadership of Israel’s enemy Syria a new lease on life (1 Kgs 20).
This fumble and Ahab’s sins will bring a violent judgement upon Ahab, Jezebel, and their entire family.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
A LOT of reading today!
It was so good, though, wasn’t it?
We are coming to the end of 1 Kings
We have the story in 1 Kings Ch 19 of Elijah, who is fleeing from Jezebel
Keep in mind that right after God’s victory through Elijah over the 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, what happens?
Elijah flees from Jezebel and gets to this place and is so discouraged
Elijah is so discouraged after his victory, he even recognizes his own WEAKNESS
He says in 1 Kings 19:4, “...It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers.”
There is an element of HUMILITY he has
He is not riding high after this victory over the prophets of Baal
He seems like his weakness is on display to himself
So what happens?
After his victory, he asks the Lord to let him die
This is SO INTERESTING
After some DEFEATS
After moments of INCREDIBLE HUMILIATION
After moments of INCREDIBLE EMBARRASSMENT
There are times where a person does not want to be seen
There are times where a person does not want to be talked to
There are times where a person wishes he/she was dead
There are also times after INCREDIBLE VICTORY
When it seems there are NO MORE BATTLES TO FIGHT
Elijah’s ministry is ALMOST OVER
He will do a few more amazing things, don’t worry
The BIG BATTLE is done
At the beginning of a person’s life, they think that there are so many battles to fight, victories to accomplish, things to do (places to see 😉)
There are also people at the midpoint or end of life who think that there are no more battles to fight, the big moments are behind them
That can be incredibly discouraging to their hearts
One wonders if that is what’s happening with Elijah at this point
But here is what God does…
In that moment of Jezebel trying to kill Elijah
In that moment of Elijah wondering if he should go on
God tells Elijah, “Arise and eat!”
God gives him BREAD FOR THE JOURNEY
This is what happens to US
We might think that our best days are behind us
But what does God tell us?
God tells us to “Get up and eat”
One of the things God tells us to get up and eat is the BREAD FOR THE JOURNEY
In Catholicism, we have something called VIATICUM
VIATICUM is the LAST TIME a person receives the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist
People in nursing homes, hospitals, or when they are sick can receive VIATICUM
VIATICUM means “food for the journey”
The declaration of God to Elijah is, “YOU ARE NOT DONE!”
That is what we are saying to all the men and women who are receiving the Eucharist for the LAST TIME
YOU ARE NOT DONE
THIS LIFE ON THIS WORLD MIGHT BE COMING TO AN END
THE LORD HAS SO MUCH FURTHER FOR YOU TO GO
That is the GREAT NEWS
There is going to be a time in our lives where our best days are behind us
What do we have to look forward to?
ETERNITY WITH HIM!!!
That’s one of the reasons as Christians we NEVER HAVE TO BE DISCOURAGED
We never have to experience what Elijah experienced
Even though it is NORMAL for us
It is NORMAL for us to say, “I had this big victory and now I have the letdown. What’s next?”
The Lord says, “No. Get up and eat. There is something more. You have places to go.”
Oh the places you’ll go!!!
After this, Elijah goes to Mt. Horeb and meets the Lord Himself
There is the STORM
There is the STRONG WIND
There is the EARTHQUAKE
There is the FIRE
God wasn’t in ANY OF THOSE THINGS
God was in the STILL, SMALL VOICE
There is SO MUCH GOOD IN THAT
When we realize what God is doing in ALL OF OUR LIVES is speaking to us IN A STILL, SMALL VOICE
We want God to speak to us with a MEGAPHONE, perhaps with a BROADBAND INTERNET CONNECTION
Oftentimes, God speaks to us in the QUIET
Our lives are filled WITH SO MUCH NOISE, that we do not HEAR HIS VOICE
So let that be a reminder
TURN DOWN THE MUSIC
TURN DOWN THE NOISE
SO WE CAN HEAR HIS VOICE
ENJOY THE SILENCE!!
That’s part of this Bible in a Year Podcast, isn’t it?
It’s us saying, “God, I know you want to speak to me. I know you are speaking to me. So let me listen to your Word and turn off the other things, and listen to THIS so I can hear your voice.”
So just a reminder, all this is happening in the Northern Kingdom
Well, except for when Elijah is on Mt. Horeb (aka Mt. Sinai)
So Elijah heads back up north to Damascus
He anoints Hazael to be the King of Syria
He anoints Jehu to be the King of Israel (Northern Kingdom)
He anoints Elisha to be his successor as Prophet of God
Elisha has this call from Elijah
The call is pretty weird where Elijah throws his cloak over him and walks away
Elisha runs after Elijah and asks to kiss his mom and dad away
Elijah tells him to go back
Elisha goes back and kills the oxen, boils them, and serves them to the people to eat
Basically, Elisha is burning his bridges
Elisha couldn’t go back to being a farmer
He is now a disciple of Elijah
This is pretty hardcore and intense
We will learn more about Elisha in the days to come
1 Kings 20 we have Ahab in the Northern Kingdom of Israel who works with Syria to defeat their enemies
God is giving them directions
God is helping him achieve victory
Ahab is NOT a good king (He wasn’t even a good sailor, he couldn’t even catch that elusive white whale!! 🤓🤪)
Ahab gives Ben-hadad, the King of Syria, MERCY
HE WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT
God chastises him for showing mercy to his enemies through a prophet
Ahab returns to his house resentful and sullen
We will find out the rest of Ahab’s story tomorrow
2 Chronicles is happening in the Southern Kingdom of Judah
Jehoshaphat took down the temples and asherim, sources of idolatry
God is defending the people of Judah and Jerusalem against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir (Seirarites?? 🤔)
God tells to go out there and pray, they don’t even have to fight
God is going to FIGHT FOR THEM
The Moabites and Ammonites turn on the people of Mount Seir
Then the Moabites and Ammonites turn on each other
All the people of Judah have to do is pick up the spoils
That is SO POWERFUL for us as well to have that clear sense of “THE LORD FIGHTS FOR YOU. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS KEEP STILL.”
“STAY HERE AND I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU.”
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN WE READ THAT IN EXODUS 14:14?? Go back and read Day 35 for a refresher 😉
Stick with it!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you thanks and we give you praise for this opportunity to just enter into the history of the kings, the history of the chronicles, the history of the family of Jesus, the history of the people you have chosen with their flaws and their faults, with their disasters and with their victories. Because we know that you are the God of our flaws and the God of our faults. You are the God of our disasters and you are the God of our victories. And so we give our hearts to you this day and every day. Please receive them. Please receive our lives, our victories, and our defeats, our flaws, and everything we are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
6:3 Here is perhaps the most profound statement of love in the entirety of Sacred Scripture. We belong to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ belongs to us. There are seldom any other words which more consummately profess our faith than these.
6:8-9 The Church is depicted as the singular Bride of Christ in contrast to the “queens” and “concubines.” Hear the words of St. Cyprian of Carthage:
The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. If any one could escape who was outside the Ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the Church. The Lord warns, saying, He who is not with me is against me, and he who gathers not with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30) He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathers elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, I and the Father are one; (John 10:30) and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, And these three are one. (1 John 5:7) And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God's law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation.
6:10 The woman here is reminiscent of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is depicted as being “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Rv. 12:1).
My Study Color Code
■ Suffering, Martyrdom ■ Places ■ The Church, Sacraments, Divinity ■ Horticultural Imagery ■ People ■ Messianic Kingship ■ Sin, Death, Decay