Today's Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24
"You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!" (1 Kings 17:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sometimes God's holy Law is at its loudest when not a word is spoken. The widow, who had lived on the edge of Israel and whose relationship with the Lord was just beginning, was crushed. She went from certain death in the famine, to oil and flour being daily replenished, back to death. She was convinced that God had played this cruel trick on her to expose the depths of her sinfulness. However, while she rightly identified the cause of her boy's death (the Lord), she was wrong about the reason (her sin).
We can make the same mistake in our own lives or as we examine those around us. We may act like Job's friends or like Jesus' disciples with the man born blind (John 9:2). Struggling to make sense of an often senseless world, we tangle cause and effect, often compounding the mess by mixing Law and Gospel.
We don't like the idea of randomness, nor of a capricious God who brings illness, accident, and death on a whim. We want solid reasons and if we can't find any in the evidence at hand, we start inventing them.
Yes, death is God's final judgment on sin. We must face it because we are born sinful and have continued to sin throughout our lives, no matter how long or short they may be. But death as a punishment was taken away when Jesus died on our behalf.
Jesus reminds us of this: "I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (John 12:47). The only Son of the Father died to pay for the sins of the widow and her son, the prophet, you, and all mankind. In light of this promised forgiveness and restoration, Elijah could call on the Lord in confidence, asking for the child's life. And when we face death, we do so knowing that Jesus already passed through and came out victorious, so also we who believe will live. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, let at last Thine angels come, To Abr'ham's bosom bear me home, That I may die unfearing; And in its narrow chamber keep My body safe in peaceful sleep Until Thy reappearing. And then from death awaken me, That these mine eyes with joy may see, O Son of God, Thy glorious face, My Savior and my fount of grace. Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend, And I will praise Thee without end. (Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart, LSB 708:3)