Run to God | 1 Kings 19

Welcome to Real Life. Circumstances rise and fall. God is present on the mountain; he is present in the desert wilderness.

“I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I’m no better than my ancestors.” 

Elijah just experienced two mountaintop victories over the prophets of Baal and the drought (see previous blog). Life is good… until Queen Jezebel hears the news. She, a devoted worshiper of Baal, is incensed that he slew her prophets. She puts out a contract on Elijah’s life.

Terrified, Elijah flees. He runs to the desert, lies down under a broom tree, and asks God to take his life.


Wait just a minute… Isn’t this Elijah—the mighty prophet? Yesterday, he stood alone against 450 prophets of Baal. Today, one little woman has him running scared?

Yes, Elijah is a powerful prophet. But, he is also a man “just like us.”[1] After the events and excitement of the previous day, Elijah is utterly exhausted. In his weakened state, Jezebel’s threat is the straw that breaks the prophet's back.

Ever been there? The Monday after a weekend women’s retreat I coordinated, the venue’s salesperson called to harass me with billing issues. I was so tired. I plummeted from a spiritual-high to the depths of despair, crying, “I quit. I’ll never organize another retreat. It’s too much, Lord.” Another time, after a year of caring for the overwhelming needs of my aging parents in my home, I was utterly spent. I curled into a fetal position and prayed, “Take me home, Lord. I don’t want to live anymore. I’ve had enough.”

God is with Elijah on the mountain. And, he’s with Elijah in the desert wilderness. Under the broom tree, an angel awakens him with freshly baked bread and water, “Get up and eat for the journey is too much for you.”

Strengthened, Elijah travels 40 days to God’s mountain, Mt. Horeb.[2] You see, Elijah's not running away. He's running to God!

There, atop Mt. Horeb, the prophet waits for God. A hurricane-force wind blows so powerfully it shatters boulders. But, the Lord is not in the wind. An earthquake rocks the mountain. The Lord is not in the earthquake. Fire descends on the mountain. The Lord is not in the fire. Then, he hears a gentle whisper,

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

“I have been very zealous for you. All Israelites have rejected you. I’m the only one left who’s trying to serve you and they’re trying to kill me.”

The Lord answers by giving Elijah a new mission: Anoint Hazael king of Aram. Anoint Jehu king of Israel. Anoint Elisha to succeed you as prophet. And, by the way, you’re not alone. Seven thousand Israelites remain true to me and haven't bowed to Baal.

Deeply discouraged? Don't run away. Run to God! He healed Elijah with:
  • Rest and nourishment. Life looks better on a full stomach and a good night’s sleep.
  • Nature. God’s beauty and power revealed through his creation elevates my thoughts and helps me regain the proper perspective: God is almighty. My problems are minuscule. 
  • Quietness. I must stop and be still in order to hear the Spirit’s gentle whisper.
  • Purpose. Often, God gives new direction. My time as retreat coordinator and caregiver soon ended. He opened new doors to writing and teaching. 
  • Community. God never meant for me to walk through life alone. He provided Elijah with a friend and disciple in Elisha. The Lord blesses me with friends to encourage, empower, and add joy to my journey!
Dearest Lord, I am running to you.
You are my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.[3]


Image from:  http://freebibleimages.org/photos/elijah-horeb/ 
[1] James 5:17-18
[2] Mt. Horeb is generally thought to be another name for Mt. Sinai: the mountain where Moses met with God and received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19-20).
[3] Psalm 46:1

Comments

  1. Yes! The Bible doesn't leave us with supernatural heroes of the faith (except Jesus, of course), but with those who are like us. What an encouragement!

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    1. Thanks, Sean, for your encouraging comment! :)

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