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by James Vasquez
The voice of God I am to all,
To king and subjects here,
Mine is the word they meekly heed,
And mine the wrath they fear.
For God has chosen that his will,
Through prophets should be known,
And quickly to defiant men,
His chastening hand is shown.
A word of censure we declare,
And mighty nations shake,
For not in vain we bear the rod,
Their stubborn wills to break.
And thus I've brought his word to those,
Within my country and,
To those in places far afield,
And kings in many a land.
I've challenged all my people well,
Demanding that they choose,
To follow God and waver not,
Nor his kind favor lose.
I've raised the dead, anointed kings,
At times I called down fire,
Consuming those who dared to mock,
Thus tempting God's just ire.
But quite amiss you'd understand,
My life as prophet now,
If this and nothing more you thought,
In ignorance, somehow.
Another side there is to each,
Who serves God faithfully,
Than that which speaks his wrathful will,
For all to hear and see.
Now count me prophet, none the less,
'Spite all that me befell,
"Twas not for bravery God chose,
That I his will should tell.
I fled in fear to desert wastes,
(There seemed but little choice),
When Jezebel, King Ahab's wife,
Declared in strident voice,
That by the gods I was assured,
My life would meet its end,
Before another sun had set,
With no one to defend.
And then, indeed, I took my flight,
Though shame inscribed my face,
And thinking oft of Jezebel,
I slackened not the pace.
I thought myself abandoned once,
That I alone remained,
Among God's prophets who the foes,
Had put to death or chained.
But God then said that thousands yet,
Still followed in his will,
And 'gainst the foe I was to preach,
Despite their wont to kill.
Well, if those thousands were around,
I wish they'd shown their face,
I could have used them once or twice,
When I was in disgrace.
About that time I thought that death,
Would be preferred o'er life,
For sadness filled my empty heart,
And simply too much strife.
But other plans God had for me,
And now of them I speak,
For midst my trials God proved true,
Nor lacking care, nor weak.
Now, oft his presence he will show,
In some mysterious way,
And not in awesome show of might,
Will he his will display.
I waited once within a cave,
Some vision to receive,
A wind then shook the place yet I,
His voice did not perceive.
And then an earthquake rattled all,
But he was not therein,
Nor when a conflagration passed,
Could he be found within.
'Twas when a still, small voice I heard,
I knew the Lord was near,
And covering well my timorous face,
I stood, his will to hear.
He sent me then to other lands,
That there I should with oil,
Anoint a king o'er Israel,
And Aram's foreign soil.
Elisha, also, I would choose,
That he upon my death,
God's words would utter to our race,
Until his final breath.
Now once I told a king the sound,
Of rain would not be heard,
Upon the land in any part,
Except by my sure word.
And quickly, then, I took my leave,
Expecting not his thanks,
And hid myself close by a brook,
Beyond old Jordan's banks.
And there the ravens came each day,
And brought me meat and bread,
Providing all my body's needs,
Just as the Lord had said.
The rains came not and soon the brook,
Was just a sandy bed,
And God then sent me to a town,
Where I'd be housed and fed.
A widow kindly took me in,
And with her son we dined,
I had no need for feasting nor,
Had ever once been wined.
Now she was poor, as widows are,
And was about to die,
When first I came to ask her help,
Awaiting her reply.
And learning of her plight I said,
Her larder would remain,
Her flour and oil ceasing not,
Till God once more sent rain.
Her son, in time, became quite ill,
And then one day he died,
And she, poor woman, looked at me,
And 'gainst me then she cried,
"Oh, man of God, is this a work,
From you above all men,
And have you come my sin to bring,
Before me once again?"
My heart was rent but failing not,
The goodness of our God,
I stretched myself upon the lad,
(Which was, in truth, quite odd,)
And he revived before my eyes,
And to his mother I,
Then carried him alive and well,
Where she was waiting nigh.
And she then said by this great sign,
She knew I served the Lord,
For only one who walks with him,
Could have her son restored.
Now God then sent me to Ahab,
Who greeted me unkind,
He had his men in many lands,
And me he hoped to find.
"Have you, Elijah, troubler of,
All Israel now forgot,
How by your word this famine came,
This devastation wrought?"
A surge of boldness then I felt,
And answered plainly thus,
"It is not I, O king, but you,
Who brought this plight on us.
"Now summon all your prophets for,
They've led our tribe astray,
And on Mount Carmel gather them,
That they and I that day,
"Might prove to all just who is God,
The Lord or Baal now,
And let the people witness and,
Before the victor bow."
And then, assembled Israel,
I made this earnest plea,
"Will you forever waver and,
Of two opinions be?
"Now serve the Lord if he is God,
And follow in his ways,
But if, by chance, 'tis Baal then he,
Deserves your rightful praise."
We saw a fire from heav'n that day,
Consume the sacrifice,
That I had placed upon the wood,
And drenched with water thrice.
And such the power of God displayed,
The people prostrate fell,
They knew at once the Lord was God,
And all their doubts did quell.
And then I ordered death for all,
The prophets who served Baal,
And each was apprehended there,
And sent beyond the pale.
And turning next to Ahab I,
Informed him that the rain,
Would quickly fall in torrents and,
The drought was soon to wane.
It took a while for what I saw,
From high on Carmel's crest,
A cloud much like the hand of man,
Far off and to the west,
Appeared but hardly signified,
The storm I knew would come,
And shortly such a deluge fell,
I likely could have swum.
I urged the king to leave the place,
Before the path was gone.
Midst swirling clouds and darkened skies,
And winds that beat thereon.
Now of the king this lasting word,
I've kept in memory,
That he to still another king,
Once said defiantly,
"Should he who dons his armor boast,
As if the victory got,
Or he who doffs it afterward,
And has the battle fought?"
But scarcely other deed I know,
Which to his credit lay,
For with his wicked wife he led,
Our people quite astray.
I challenged them throughout my life,
And oft to no avail,
"Is it that Israel has no God,
That you should follow Baal?"
And so the day arrived that I,
Should from my call retire,
Unworthy, God then sent for me,
A chariot of fire!
I saw them distantly at first,
Those horses all ablaze,
As in a whirlwind circling 'bout,
And filling all my gaze.
I firmly held myself within,
As upward then we went,
A trail of smoke we left behind,
And heav'n itself then rent.
from the June 2003 Edition of the Jewish Magazine