Speaking truth to power

Deacon Erin’s Weekly Lectionary Reflection
1 Kings 21:1-21a
Young people – especially children are especially in tune to what is fair – and when things aren’t fair. Yet they often learn there is not a lot they can do to fix the things around them that aren’t fair. They simply don’t have the power. Sure, sometimes what’s not fair is they have to clean their room instead of watch TV – yet other times children vividly see bullying, or discrimination in everyday places from school to the grocery store.

This week’s Hebrew Bible story tells the story of a King and Queen who used their power to get their way – not at all fair. And the prophet who bravely spoke up against their actions.


This is a story with such vivid language that reminds me the bible is not a book for children.

“Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying: 21:18 Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria; he is now in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. 21:19 You shall say to him, “Thus says the LORD: Have you killed, and also taken possession?” You shall say to him, “Thus says the LORD: In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, dogs will also lick up your blood.” 21:20 Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you. Because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the LORD,

21:21 I will bring disaster on you.”


I will bring disaster on you. Not exactly the loving and merciful God I know I like to picture most of the time. There is something raw and angry about this depiction of God –


Elijah – a prophet, goes to the King and Queen – the absolute power in Israel, and says this?? God saw what you did, is NOT okay with it, and justice will come.


And this works, at least in that King Ahab repents and seeks God’s mercy and forgiveness. One interesting thing about this tale however is that it’s a fairly common thing – for those in power to do whatever they have to do get what they want. What makes this a story – what has kept it being told for thousands of years, is that someone spoke truth to that power.


Being prophetic isn’t something that comes easy to any one. Speaking out, especially when it always has a cost, is not a glamorous thing to do. Yet, how can we stay silent when our eyes are opened to injustice?


“It’s not fair” a child says. Don’t ever stop saying something when you see something.



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