Fr. Francis Scaria
Prophet Elijah mocked at the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal that perhaps their God was “asleep and must be awakened” (1Kgs 18:27). Their prayers to Baal were not answered. “Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them. As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer and no response” (1Kgs 18:29). But Elijah’s God answered his prayer instantly, for he does not sleep and so does not need to be awakened. The Word of God says, “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps 121:4). He is attentive to the cry of his people. “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry” (Ps 34:15). Further, in 2 Chron 7:14-15 we read, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” Heb 4:13 says. “And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.”
Our God watches over us. During the exodus the Lord accompanied the Israelites day and night. “The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Ex 13:21-22). Ex 12:42 says, “That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt”. If people stay on there in Egypt, it can turn out to be a place of harder oppression and slavery. It was in the plan of God to lead the people of Israel to Egypt and to bring them out sometime later. When Jacob was afraid of going to Egypt, God appeared to him and said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again” (Gen 46:3-4). God accompanied the Israelites to Egypt and back.
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.” (Ps 34:17-22) The Lord found Hagar, the Egyptian maid of Abraham’s wife Sarah by the spring of water in the wilderness (cf. Gen 16:7) and protected her. Esther, Daniel and Susanna – all have the same story to narrate. Our God does not sleep.
MUSINGS : 1-25,