There is much to fear! Sometimes more than others. Elijah was so afraid of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel that he ran away to hide in a cave at Mt. Horeb. God found Elijah, the greatest of the prophets of the Old Testament, and said, “What are you doing here?” Elijah said, “the Israelites (King Ahab, Queen Jezebel and their advisors) have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets . . . I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.”
King Ahab and Queen Jezebel abandoned the worship of God and instituted the worship of Baal. Ahab built a house for Baal worship. “Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.” 1 Kings 16 The royals worked to destroy everything Israel stood for – worship of one God, following the law of Moses, compassion for foreigners, the sick, the poor, widows, and the orphans.
Elijah called the nation back to God, the maker of all. He confronted Ahab, who asked, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” 1 Kings 18. Elijah corrected the king, saying, “I have not made trouble for Israel . . . but you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals.” After Elijah’s famous contest with the prophets of Baal, Jezebel issued a death threat against Elijah. 1 Kings 19 She prodded her husband into many other wicked acts. “There was none who sold himself to do what was evil like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.” 1 Kings 21
Now, the nations of the world are afraid that the war of words between North Korea and the USA will lead to nuclear war. A leader of the Southern Baptist Convention said, “When it comes to how we should deal with evildoers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.” People who proclaim such things are false prophets. They have “forsaken God’s covenants and torn down God’s altars,” dangerously corrupting a Bible verse to support what could easily be the mutual slaughter of millions of people – calling it God’s will.
Ku Klux Klan and other American Nazi groups have now advanced their racist and anti-Semitic hate and violence with Nuremberg-like rallies, with torches and guns, attacking a church prayer meeting in Charlottesville. One Nazi leader invited people to attend their rally with this: “Next stop: Charlottesville, VA. Final stop: Auschwitz.” It did not end with Auschwitz, but with an American terrorist mowing down bystanders – like the terrorists of Nice, Berlin and London. Nazi hate must be condemned and given no respect or position of authority. Thankfully, this American bigotry and terrorism has been condemned by many of leaders of both political parties – some directly and others vaguely.
The situation in Virginia is only the most recent sign that the goal of these white Nazi nationalist groups is the destruction of all our American covenants, altars, and truth – seeking to repeal freedom and justice for all, to replace it with freedom and privilege for Whites only! These Nazis must be condemned and given no public platform for their hate in Charlottesville, in our schools and churches, or by anyone in governmental leadership.
Yes, there is much to fear! Sometimes more than others. Like Elijah, God is seeking us out today and asking, “What are you doing?”
First of all, we are comforted that the greatest prophet of Israel was so afraid that he ran away to hide in a cave. So, when we are afraid of what is going on – we are in very good company.
When we are discouraged and want to hide in a cave, we can listen to the word of the Lord. We can be encouraged to carry on in the face of every evil, trusting in the good and gracious will of God for all. Elijah thought the King, Queen and their advisors had won – but God reminded him that there were still seven thousand that had now bent their knees to Baal. We also need to remember that the powers of hate and the destruction of freedom and justice for all will not win in the end. We are not alone – there are thousands / millions who are willing to stand up to denounce Nazi hate and anarchy.
We can call our leaders, send emails to speak out against Nazi hate. We can vote for those who are willing to speak out for the covenants of freedom for all and for the altars of justice for all. We will pray, announce, and live God’s everlasting covenant of welcome and forgiveness for all. Even in the face of evil, we will encourage others with an even stronger care the poor, the sick, that lonely, and our work to welcome a refugee family. To quote Luther’s hymn, “Let this world’s tyrant rage; in battle we’ll engage! His might is doomed to fail, One little word subdues him.” That “little word” is Jesus – his powerful forgiveness and love.
— Roger Berner, Pastor