Tuesday, August 16, 2016

No coincidence that Chariots of Fire is in this week's Lesson

I wonder if it is not a coincidence that this week's Bible Lesson on Mind includes the story of Elisha and the Chariots of Fire. In 1981 a movie by that name came out and it featured two runners who competed in the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

One athlete, Harold Abrahams, experiences anti-Semitism from the staff of Cambridge University. He achieves an undefeated string of victories in national running competitions. Eric Liddell, born in China of Scottish missionary parents, plans to pursue competitive running as a way to glorify God before returning to China to work as a missionary.

When they first race against each other, Liddell beats Abrahams who takes it poorly. The two athletes, after years of training and racing are accepted to represent Great Britain in the Olympics.
Boarding the boat to Paris Liddell learns that his 100 meter race will be on Sunday. He refuses to run the race because his Christian convictions prevent him from running on the Sabbath. Hope appears when one of his teammates, having already won a silver medal, proposes to yield his place in the 400 meter race on the following Thursday and Liddell gratefully accepts.

He delivers a sermon that Sunday and quotes Isaiah 40: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Liddell competes and wins a gold medal.

Our Bible Lesson tells how Elisha was able to warn the king of Israel about where the army of Syria was waiting in ambush. The king of Syria sends his army with horses and chariots to capture him. Elisha and his servant awake to find themselves surrounded. It is inspiring to see how Elisha handles the situation.

First he calms his frightened servant, assuring him that 'they that be with us are more than they that be with them'. He prays and asks God to open the servants eyes that he might see and he saw. Behold! The mountain was filled with horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.

Researching the idea of Chariots of Fire I found this poem:

Mabel Stuart Curry
October 18, 1941 Sentinel

Elisha's servant cried to him in fear
when armies came and compassed them by night,
an enemy so strong that morning brought
no hope of safety there, no way of flight.

His master turned from fear to God in prayer.
"Open his eyes that he may see," he prayed:
"For they that be with us are more than they
that be with them." For he was not afraid.

So sometimes in our fear and deep distress
we turn to one whose words of Truth inspire;
then looking towards the mountains, may we see
the horses and the chariots of fire!

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