1 Kings 19
-Ahab tells his wife Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets of Baal and Asherah with the sword (1 Kings 20:1). She sends a messenger to Elijah threatening to kill him with an oath bringing destruction on her if she doesn’t accomplish her desires by the power of her gods (1 Kings 20:2). One of the saddest phrases in the Bible appears next, “And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life (1 Kings 20:3).” This stands in direct contrast to his spirit on Mt. Carmel. It reveals his doubt and fear even after God had shown up and displayed His awesome power against His enemies. Elijah was at the point of wanting to die (1 Kings 20:4). God was no doubt still with the prophet, ministering to him by angels and strengthening him for his journey, and even appearing to him down on Horeb, the mountain of God (also known as Mt. Sinai, where Moses had met with the LORD, 1 Kings 20:5-8). *Application* Elijah was on the run after his greatest triumph, which doesn’t make that much sense unless you’ve actually been there. There are times in our lives when we do the will of God in standing for righteousness and against what we know is evil in the world that is in competition to the One-True LORD and His ways. Our expectation in those situations is that evil will be totally vanquished and we will be on easy street with no more worries or problems to impend us. What we see in our lives, just like with what happened with Elijah, is that intense spiritual warfare persists even after great spiritual victories. If we are not careful, our greatest victory can quickly turn into our greatest defeat. We must continue to fight for right and realize that the enemy is unrelenting, and will attempt to destroy us at our most vulnerable times. Elijah was tired and worn out by all the stress and demands of his previous victorious engagement. At a weak point, he chose fear and fled in the face of more threats rather than girding up his strength and fighting it out to the finish with Jezebel. Obviously, this did not please God, but we do see His grace and compassion during this time to revive and replenish His servant.
-God was not done with this man of God. He asked him the question twice on the mountain, “What are you doing here, Elijah (1 Kings 20:9, 13)?” Elijah’s response demonstrated his heart and his pain, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 20:10, 14).” God reassured him that there was a remnant back in Israel who had not bowed to Baal numbering 7,000 (1 Kings 20:18). He also appeared to him with prophetic meaning in a gentle blowing after some remarkable displays of nature (1 Kings 20:11-12). The prophetic point was that it would not be the dramatic displays that would be used to change the culture in Israel (i.e. Mt. Carmel demonstration), but the natural and normal political process (anointing of a new king, Jehu, and succeeding prophet, Elisha). Elijah was shown to hang in there and continue to follow the commands of the LORD for His purposes and plans (1 Kings 20:15-17). As he went from Horeb to find Elisha, he threw his mantle (an article of clothing used for protection) on the young man and experienced some fellowship from a believing brother who was fully committed to the work of the LORD (1 Kings 20:19-21). *Application* Isn’t God good? He comes and comforts us in all our weakness and gives us renewed hope for the journey. He is kind enough to question where we are at and what we are doing, prodding us to get going back in the right direction. Praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness, even when we are fragile.
Verses to Memorize: 1 Kings 19:10, 14