He experienced the highlight of his career. God really came through for him–big time. The Lord could’ve remained silent and proved Elijah a foolish prophet, but when the man of God called the bluff of Baal’s prophets and cried out to God, “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again,” God showed up with fire from heaven. He burned up the sacrifice and totally licked up the water in the trench.
The people fell to their knees and gave God credit and glory.
Elijah ordered the death of the prophet’s of Baal.
“The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab (Ahab was in a chariot) all the way to Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:46- insertion mine)
He ran faster than horses! Have you raced a horse lately? It’s not humanly possible to beat one.
Despite all the victories, the mental battle wasn’t finished. Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life, and he became afraid. The Bible tells us that he was so fearful he ran away, sat under a tree, and asked God to take his life. He wanted to die.
Wow. Dramatic. Really? After all that, he wanted to die?
Why was he afraid? He knew God’s power. He witnessed God’s answer to prayer. He experienced the power of the Lord in his body! What happened to his faith?
Someone I respected questioned my faith once when I was afraid. I’ve grieved that day. But I now look back on that faithless moment with grace. Elijah’s story helps me do so, yet there is more to learn. The rest of the scripture proves a loving, faithful, gentle God and what I need to do when I want to give up:
- Take a nap and eat a good meal. (An angel gave him food and water while he rested. 1 Kings 19:5)
- Seek God’s Presence. This requires getting somewhere quiet with your Bible and journal. (The angel sent Elijah to the mountain of the Lord.)
- Listen for a whisper. (God didn’t blow Elijah over. He spoke softly.)
God did not rebuke Elijah for his lack of faith or his weary heart. He simply asked him, “What are you doing here?” He gave Elijah time to vent and then He told him what to do. God gracefully accepted Elijah’s resignation/retirement. He was not surprised. He had a plan.
I’m reminded to be careful with my prayers. If I want to quit, I just might get what I ask for. If my prayers are rooted in fear or weariness, I’m not claiming the power and victory of God in my life. I’m listening to the Jezebels who tell me it’s hopeless. I’m probably also believing that I’m all alone. I know that was the problem when my faith was questioned so many years ago. I dreaded being alone. I was married, had two small children, and friends, but I felt alone. I wasn’t a prophet of God. I was something possibly even more challenging and powerful. I was a stay-at-home mom.
Alone. That’s the worst lie of all. That’s why Elijah wanted to quit.
But there were seven THOUSAND believers still on the planet.
Elijah was ready to give up and quit, but God wasn’t.
He never is.
Don’t give up.
I’ll post a reading schedule of verses tomorrow. Until then…Your turn: (pick one)
- How do you relate to Elijah?
- What’s your favorite part of the story?
- Out of the 4 things suggested to do when you want to give up, which is the most difficult for you?
- What is the lesson you learn by the fact that there were 7000 believers yet Elijah thought he was alone?