In the Lectionary

August 13, Ordinary 19A (1 Kings 19:9–18; Psalm 85:8–13; Romans 10:5–15; Matthew 14:22–33)

Both Elijah and Peter face a stark reality: fear.

War rages around us, and all too often within us. In the texts before us this week, we see both: major battles between people and fights raging inside one person. But they share a central issue: fear.

In 1 Kings, there is a war raging for the souls and the spiritual allegiance of God’s chosen people. The nation has split into two, and the people’s affection for Yahweh has turned to disobedience, their fidelity to idolatry. There is a war raging for the very souls of God’s people.

Then Elijah shows up. First Kings tells of the mighty acts of this prophetic warrior. A God-sent, miracle-working, one-man wrecking crew, Elijah takes on King Ahab’s Baal-worshiping wife, Jezebel, and wipes out no fewer than 450 of her favored prophets. In response, Jezebel sends Elijah a special hand-delivered death threat.