Students sitting outside Bockman
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Monday, August 03, 2015

Sometimes winning can feel like losing. Elijah has presided over the defeat and killing of two hundred fifty prophets of Baal. Then Jezebel sends word that she will avenge their deaths by taking his life. So Elijah flees to the wilderness and asks that he might die. What had seemed a magnificent triumph has not changed much, after all.

Then an angel of the Lord twice speaks to Elijah, commanding him to "Get up and eat," the simple water and stone-baked cakes the Lord has provided. Surprisingly, Elijah goes in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights. It was not in the powerful demonstration of an altar consumed by fire that Elijah found his sustenance. It was instead in the small bits of food eaten along the way.

We sometimes think God will best meet our needs in demonstrations of mighty power—a miracle, a clear sign, an overpowering of our mind and spirit. Yet it is in small ways that God often comes. In bits of bread, taken and eaten, in gentle words of encouragement, God sustains us, too.

God of our sustenance, help me to listen when you speak in ways both large and small. Amen.

Bryan Woken
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, West Hills, Calif.
Master of Divinity , 1984

1 Kings 19:4-8 (NRSV)

4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors."
5 Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat."
6 He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you."
8 He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.