Violence

It’s all around us.  Unspeakable violence and pain and loss.  People are doing horrible things to their neighbors.  They are putting themselves in danger and getting hurt.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new.  As I read the historical account in 1 Kings of Elijah facing off against 450 prophets of Baal, I am stopped by the picture this passage forms in my mind.  The prophets of Baal had just put a bull up on their altar and they are calling on Baal to come burn up their sacrifice.  Nothing happens. (of course)  So they began to shout louder and ‘slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.’

The frantic violence I’m seeing in my mind looks a lot like the videos of looting and rioting that I see going on in our world right now.  And Satan is smiling.  His plans to divide and hurt as many people as possible are working.

Violence never fixes anything.  The gruesome self-mutilation of the priests of Baal sure didn’t do anything.

But wait!  I love this next part-

Elijah prepared a bull on the altar of stones and wood that he made as a sacrifice to the One True God.  To show the power of God, he poured 12 large jars of water on top of the altar.  The altar was totally soaked with water running down all over it and filling the trench around it.  Then Elijah prayed to God, asking him to show himself  ‘so these people will know that you, LORD, are God and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

As soon as Elijah finished praying, the fire of God came down from heaven and burned up the bull, the wood, the stones , the soil around it and all of the water.

“When the people saw this, they fell prostate and cried, ‘The LORD – he is God!”

Dear Father, we need you to send your power down to earth today.  We need this hate and division all around us to be burned up.  We need a purifying rain of your love and grace and peace to fall on each one of us today.  Let everyone see that you are the One True God.  Heal our country, Father.  Take the smile off of Satan’s face, God.  Turn all the angry, frustrated, violent hearts back to you, God.  You are the answer.  Thank you, Abba Father.  In the powerful name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

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