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Chinese12/9/2005English
經文:列王紀上十九章
鑰節:「……耶和華也不在火中,火後有微小的聲音。」(19:12)
提要

        亞哈向耶洗別報告了在迦密山上發生的事情,但耶洗別對上帝的態度一點也沒改變。以利亞原先可能希望藉此扭轉耶洗別的心,但耶洗別只變得更加憤怒,因為她的巴力先知已被殺害。耶洗別現在可能認為惟有除掉以利亞才能替她的神扳回面子。她的威脅可不是假的,因為她的確有足夠的權勢達到她的目的,所以以利亞趕緊逃命。

        以利亞往南逃跑,盡其所能的遠離邪惡的耶洗別。他逃到猶大最南端的別示巴後,又走了一天的路程進入曠野。在極度的沮喪中,以利亞坐在一顆羅騰樹下,一心只想求死。他原先期望上帝在迦密山顯出祂的大能後,能帶給以色列全國的復興。然而他卻發現耶洗別比以前更變本加厲的助長巴力之崇拜。他覺得自己的工作一點果效也沒有,既然無法實現自己生命的目的,他便向上帝求死。上帝卻派天使來安慰、堅固以利亞,因為上帝在他身上的託負還沒完成呢!

        就像上帝在西乃山使摩西得以支持四十晝夜不用吃食,以及在曠野托住耶穌一樣,祂也會保守祂的僕人以利亞。上帝藉天使為以利亞預備的食物,竟然使他有力氣在曠野行走四十天,一直到別是巴以南約四十公里處的何烈山。

        上帝在何烈山與以色列人立約,現在以利亞在同一地點告訴上帝,以色列人失敗了,因為他們不忠於上帝。以利亞覺得舉國只剩下他一人真正忠於上帝,並且以色列應該遭受比三年乾旱、饑荒還嚴重的審判。以利亞不像摩西求上帝憐憫以色列,他坐在那堻d備以色列人,並希望上帝用更嚴厲的手段刑罰以色列(參羅11:2~4)。

        上帝向以利亞顯示,祂有足夠的能力用自然界的力量──風、地震、和火,來施行審判。但在每一次的威力中,上帝都不在其間。這可能代表上帝的旨意並不要摧毀以色列,因為祂比以利亞更有憐憫的心腸(參撒下24:14)。不過,上帝卻在微小的聲音中出現,那是以利亞一點也料想不到的,特別是他才在迦密山見識過上帝所降的烈火。

        上帝要以利亞知道,祂並非總是藉著令人戰競的方式傳達訊息,祂可以用微小的聲音向那有耳願聽的人說話(參賽30:21)。我們的主耶穌也代表那微小的聲音。祂是謙卑、溫柔的彌賽亞,但祂也可以藉著聖靈在人心塈@出劇烈的工作(賽42:1~4;太12:18~21)。後來當以利亞出現在變相山上與耶穌說話(太17:1~3),他已經完全瞭解了上帝拯救世界的恩典計畫。

        上帝鼓勵以利亞,告訴他他並不孤單,在以色列仍有七千人是忠於上帝的子民,至於反對上帝的敵人,上帝必藉著耶戶和以利沙之手審判他們。不過以利沙所帶來的審判非用刀劍,而是用聖靈的話和他嘴堛犒w言。

        上帝也鼓勵以利亞,他的工作必後繼有人。上帝永遠會興起人來為祂作見證,而以利沙就是有幸蒙上帝揀選作以利亞的學生。當以利亞用他的外衣披在以利沙身上,以利沙就明白以利亞的意思,並且立刻用自己的牛準備了慶祝的筳席,表現出順應上帝對他生命呼召的熱誠。他用套牛的器具當燃料煮肉也表示他願意放棄自己的職業,專一跟隨上帝。

禱告

        噢,上帝,您已用那「微小的聲音」和聖經的話對我們說話。賜給我們能聽的耳朵和心,及順服的意志。我們憑著信心這樣求,因為基督藉著信住在我們心堙A而祂所做的每一件事都討您喜悅。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read 1 Kings 19
Key Verse:"... The Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."(1 Kings 19:12)
Overview

        When Ahab reported to Jezebel all that had happened, there was no change in her heart toward God. Elijah would have hoped for such a change, but Jezebel became more infuriated than ever, because her very own prophets of Baal had been executed. She may have thought that Elijah's death would vindicate her god. This was not an empty threat, for she was powerful enough to have her desire acomplished; so Elijah ran for his life.

        Elijah headed south, as far away as he could get from that wicked woman. After reaching Beersheba, the southernmost city of Judah, he travelled for another day into the desert. In his discouragment, he sat under a desert shrub and wished to die. He had expected a nationwide revival after the great demonstration of God's power on Mount Carmel. Instead he discovered that Jezebel was still propagating Baalism, probably more fervently than ever before. He felt himself fruitless and, since the purpose of his life was unfulfilled, he asked God to take him. Instead, the Lord sent an angel to comfort and strengthen Elijah, for the Lord was not finished with him yet.

        Just as God had sustained Moses without food for forty days and forty nights upon Mount Sinai, and also Jesus in the wilderness, so He would do for His servant Elijah. The meal prepared for him by the heavenly messenger gave him the strength to go through the desert for forty days until he reached Mount Horeb (Sinai), about 400 kilometers south of Beersheba.

        It was there that God had made a covenant with Israel, and there Elijah told God that the covenant had failed, for Israel was not faithful to Him. He felt that he alone was truly loyal to God and that Israel deserved a more severe judgment than the three years of drought and famine they had just experienced. Unlike Moses, who pleaded for God's mercy upon Israel, Elijah stood to condemn them and plead against them. He wanted to see God use His great strength to punish Israel (cf. Romans 11:2-4).

        God demonstrated to Elijah that He was indeed capable of bringing judgment through the natural elements — the wind, earthquake, and fire. But in each case, God was not present in it. This may have signified that it was not God's will to destroy them at that time, for He was more merciful than Elijah (cf. 2 Samuel 24:14). God, however, was present in the still small voice, something Elijah probably did not expect, especially after he had seen God send the great consuming fire on Mount Carmel.

        Elijah was to learn that it was not always God's way to get His message across with terror (cf. Hebrews 12:18-24); He can speak quietly into the ears of those who have an ear to hear (cf. Isaiah 30:21). Our Lord Jesus represented that still small voice. He was the meek, mild, and usually soft-spoken Messiah, but He was able to do more of a work in the hearts of mankind through His Spirit than any dramatic demonstration could do (Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:18-21). When Elijah later appeared, speaking with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-3), he fully understood God's plan of mercy and grace for the salvation of world.

        God encouraged Elijah by telling him he was not alone; there were 7,000 in Israel, a remnant who had remained loyal to him, but for His enemies there would indeed be judgment at the hands of Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha. Unlike the others, Elisha would not bring judgment with the physical sword, but with the sword of the Spirit and the prophetic words of his mouth (e.g. Hosea 6:5; 2 Kings 8:1, famine).

        God also encouraged Elijah that his work would be continued. God will always raise up someone to witness for Him, and Elisha was honoured to be chosen as Elijah's student-prophet. He understood what it meant when Elijah threw his mantle around him and immediately showed his enthusiasm at the call of God upon his life by preparing a celebration meal of his oxen, cooked upon his burning ploughing equipment. This showed his willingness to give up his profession and possessions in order to follow God.

Prayer

        O Lord, You have spoken to us in that "still small voice", and in Your Holy Word. Give us ears to listen and hearts and wills to obey. We pray this with confidence because Christ dwells in us by faith, and He pleased You in everything He did.


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