Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Famine in the Land

There is famine in the land, not a famine of food and drink since in Singapore as well as in Malaysia there is food aplenty. There is famine, a famine of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 9). When Jesus preached his inaugural sermon in Luke's Gospel, his audience was at first impressed and astonished at Jesus' teaching, but that amazement quickly turned to anger and murderous wrath. What in Jesus's sermon made him so offensive? He told his country folks two stories they knew so well. It is about the twin prophets of Elijah and Elisha. According to Jesus, in the days of drought and famine lasting 3 and a half years, Elijah was sent to minister to only one person, a foreign woman at Zarephath, in the land of Sidon and no one else in Israel benefited from Elijah's ministry.
Also in the days of Elisha, there were many lepers in Israel but none was healed except a foreigner, a Syrian general called Namaan. Why was there no healing in Israel in the days of Elisha? It was because the people of God refused to hear the words of God through his prophet. They preferred to remain in their leprosy, in their spiritual ailments instead of turning to God, their healer. Why was there no rain in the days of Elijah? The people of God preferred to worship Baal, a rain god which could not give rain and refused to listen to the prophetic words through Elijah. In fact, Elijah was accused by Ahab, the king of Israel as the troubler of Israel but Elijah retorted that it was Ahab who brought trouble upon Israel by leading them astray and going after false gods. Even now, the prophets of God are hidden. They don't appear before large crowds; they are sent to the meek of the earth, to foreigners of this world that are prepared to listen to the words of the Lord.

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