Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, â€œSo let the gods do to me, and more also, if I donâ€™t make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time!â€
When he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 1 Kings 19:1-3 (WEB)
Elijah was afraid and ran. Why? In chapter 18, we read that Elijah has just had the â€˜gameâ€™ of his life. God took him and destroyed 450 Baal prophets! Elijah challenged them to a â€˜My God is bigger than yoursâ€™ â€“ and Jehovah, the I AM, came down with fire and â€˜hit a home runâ€™. Elijah took those prophets and slaughtered them after their defeat. Jezebel the Queen gets mad and threatens to kill Elijah. 450 prophets have just been chopped up into pieces and Elijah is afraid of one queen? He is afraid enough to leave town. Why?
Many people would give that famous reminder that satan is usually waiting to attack us as we come down from a mountaintop experience with the Lord. While that may be true, why is it true? Why is it that after we â€˜seeâ€™ or â€˜hearâ€™ God in a tangible way that we often hit the bottom of a surprising â€˜pitâ€™? Whether in an extraordinary worship service or conference or when we witness a miracle of salvation or healing or a sweet time of personal spiritual breakthrough, it does seem like a crisis or challenging situation follows.
As I have been reading this story and others I found myself going back to the gospels to learn some wisdom from Jesus. Jesus spent three intense years and yet the gospel writers thought it important enough to tell me how Jesus rested or relaxed. Jesus went away to pray (talk to the Father). (Matthew 14:19 and 23, Matthew 26:36, Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12, Luke 11, Luke 22,) He slept or rested. (Matthew 7:24, John 4:6) He routinely worshiped in the synagogue with other believers. (Luke 4:16) Jesus also attended social functions. (Luke 14, John 2 and 12) All of this made me think â€“ maybe Elijah could have used some rest and taken some time to absorb what had just happened and received the encouragement and knowledge of who God is. Maybe he would have known with an assurance who was with him and not been afraid of who was coming against him!
God is faithful. When I allow myself to get spiritually or physically â€˜run downâ€™, God will not leave me or forsake me. Just as God responded to Jesusâ€™ need (Matthew 4:11, Luke 22:43) so He responds to mine. Too often I find my self speeding through life trying to run with every opportunity (as if all of them are from God!) and spending not enough time with God receiving His refreshment and restoration. I must follow Jesusâ€™ example and run with His example. My journey is a marathon â€“ not a sprint!
When he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a dayâ€™s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, â€œIt is enough. Now, O Yahweh, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.â€
He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, â€œArise and eat!â€
He looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on the coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of Yahweh came again the second time, and touched him, and said, â€œArise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.â€
He arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the Mount of God. He came there to a cave, and lodged there. 1 Kings 19:3-9 (WEB)
God sends ministering angels to restore His children. He provides us with any and all the food and rest we need. And we do need it. May we rest with the same obedience that we work. Both are in God’s plan.