Welcome to today's Our Daily Bread. Our reading is titled Divine Tenderness.
I'm Sheridan Voisey. I once heard a businessman describe his years in college as a time when he felt helpless and hopeless from bouts of depression. Sadly, he never talked to a doctor about these feelings but instead started making more drastic plans, ordering a book on suicide from his local library and setting a date to take his life. God cares for the helpless and hopeless. We see this in his treatment of biblical characters during their own dark times. When Jonah wanted to die, in Jonah chapter 4, God engaged him in tender conversation. When Elijah asked God to take his life in 1 Kings 19, God provided bread and water to refresh him, spoke gently to him and helped him see he wasn't as alone as he thought. God approaches the downhearted with tender, practical help. The library notified the student when his book on suicide was ready to collect. But in a mix-up, the note went to his parents' address instead. When his mother called him, distraught, he realised the devastation his suicide would bring. Without that address mix-up, he says, he wouldn't be here today. I don't believe that student was saved by luck or by chance.
Whether it's bread and water when we need it or a timely wrong address, when mysterious intervention saves our lives, we've encountered divine tenderness. Today's scripture reading is from 1 Kings 19 verses 3 to 10 and 15 to 18. Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to bear Sheba and Judah, he left his servant there while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. I have had enough, Lord, he said.
Take my life, I'm no better than my ancestors. Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once, an angel touched him and said, get up and eat.
He looked around and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you. So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled 40 days and 40 nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him. What are you doing here, Elijah? He replied, I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars and put your prophets to death with a sword.
I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too. Now picking up from verse 15. The Lord said to him, go back the way you came and go to the desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael, king over Aram. Also anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, king over Israel. And anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat, from Abel-Meholah, to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael.
And Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve 7,000 in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him. Let's pray together. Lord, these descriptions of you telling Elijah to rest and to eat and to drink and to be refreshed, that he's not alone.
They are just so precious and they give us a glimpse of your very heart for not just him, but for us. Thank you for your tender, practical care for the helpless and the hopeless, even us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Thanks for listening today. I'm Sheridan Boise and today's encouragement was provided by Our Daily Bread Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 23:33:37 / 2023-04-05 23:35:57 / 2