You are Not Alone

1 Kings 17-19

1 Kings 19 14 NIV sgl

Don’t you love Elijah!  The showdown at Mount Carmel is one of my all-time favorite Old Testament stories!  Elijah makes a bold, strong, fast, quick-witted hero for the LORD.  We love to see how he repeatedly stands firmly for God and how God takes care of him, over and over again.  Even though his king (Ahab), his queen (Jezebel) and his nation (Israel) are making some really bad decisions following a man-made god (Baal), Elijah doesn’t back down and his deep faith in God allows him to display God’s power in amazing and miraculous ways.  He prays and God holds back the rain for 3 and a half years. During the drought he is fed by ravens.  (Don’t worry, there are no sanitation problems when God provides the birds to bring you your daily breakfast and supper). He is the first person recorded in Scripture through which God raises the dead!  Never-before seen miracles – at the hand of Elijah!  He prays and God sends fire from heaven to burn up the absolutely drenched sacrifice, wood, stones and soil.  With God’s power he outruns Ahab’s chariot – I bet that was fun to do.  Can you imagine the face and heart of Ahab who had just been bested on Mount Carmel by his enemy Elijah, and then here comes Elijah running past his royal chariot that is trying to outrun the storm clouds that Elijah predicted?  Triple whammy!  It is like Elijah is untouchable!   A super-human spokesman and miracle maker for God.

But no, he was not super-human.  In case anyone was wondering, James sets the record straight many years later in the New Testament that, “Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly…”  (James 5:17).  He was a regular man like us.  But he sure knew how to pray!

But being a regular man like us, he grew tired, too.  And fearful sometimes as well.  Ministry can be exciting and exhilarating.  And, tiring and scary.  Sometimes the results aren’t quite what you were hoping for.  Instead of a dramatic conversion – now the ones you were trying to convince of God’s majesty are trying to hunt you down to destroy you!

When Elijah hears that Jezebel has vowed to take his life he is so ready to give up.  Maybe you have been there too, sitting under a broom tree telling God you are done.  But God provides for him again and sustains his long journey (40 days) to a safer (and holy) spot and then reveals himself in a gentle whisper.  Elijah knows he has had a special, one-of-a kind moment with God.  God asks, “What are you doing here, Elijah” (1 Kings 19:13).  Elijah answers, saying he has done so much for God, but the people still won’t listen, and now he is the only one left who speaks for God and they are trying to kill him, too.  It is a little bit of a pity party perhaps – that’s where we go when we are tired and worn out and fearful for the future.

God could be angry.  After all that God has done for Elijah, how dare he mope?  But God doesn’t respond with anger and condemnation; instead, the loving, compassionate, faithful God gives Elijah specific action steps as well as correction.   He says – “Go Back”.  You have had your 40 day sabbatical – you have encountered me in a gentle whisper – I have provided for you – now return, your work isn’t done.

God knows the world is broken and rough and a difficult place to speak for God.  But He says don’t give up.  Keep at it.  He still has more people for you to influence – more people for you to anoint with God’s words and purpose.  The evil king (Satan) may not be brought down in your lifetime.  That’s okay, God will still take care of him, God’s rule will prevail, and He is lining up the people (including His Son the Messiah) and the events to bring it to be.  In the meantime, it is still your job to pass along the good news and the words and power of the Almighty.  And in this way the faithful chain continues through the generations – each one doing their part to proclaim the greatness of our Heavenly Father and prepare the way for His ultimate Kingdom rule.

And, no, Elijah – you are not alone.  Yes, you felt alone.  But you were never alone.  We know that Obadiah (a God-believer in charge of Ahab’s palace) had risked his life by saving the lives of 100 prophets of God in caves (1 Kings 18:2-4).  And God himself corrects Elijah by telling him He had personally reserved 7,000 in Israel who had not worshipped Baal.  It was far from a majority – you don’t need to be a majority to continue speaking God’s word.  But know that you are not a lonely army of one.  God sees you – and He sees all those He has given the most important task of speaking for Him.  Don’t bend your knee to evil.  Don’t give up.  God sees and provides.  Keep speaking for Him.

Marcia Railton

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+17-19&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be 1 Kings 20-21 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Defeated

Elijah

1 Kings 19 14

1 Kings 18:20-24 and 36-40, 1 Kings 19:9-18

When I hear the name “Elijah” my mind fills with highlight moments from his life such as the chariot of fire whisking him away, him egging on the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, or him bringing a dead boy back to life. This highlight reel that plays in my mind however doesn’t give the full spectrum of Elijah.

In 1 Kings 18 we see one of these highlight moments. Elijah spent the day with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel as they tried to prove that Baal was god. Long story short is that the prophets of Baal failed but the one true God showed up. The prophets of Baal ran away but were chased and killed by Elijah and the people of Israel.

What I find fascinating is despite this moment of faith and triumph it says in 1 Kings 19:3 that Elijah was, “afraid and arose and ran for his life” after Jezebel (the wife of the wicked King Ahab) decided that she would have him hunted down and killed since he killed all her prophets of Baal.

Elijah finds himself in the wilderness and reaches a point to where he feels he can’t go on. God sends an angel to him to give him food to help sustain him and he then traveled for forty days and nights to the Mountain of God at Horeb.

In Kings 19:8-18 Elijah reaches Horeb and God tells him that He is about to pass by. A rock shattering wind blows through but God was not in it. An earthquake shakes the mountain but God was not in it. A fire tore through the mountain but God was not in it. After these powerful forces comes a gentle whisper and Elijah knows that it is God. God listens to Elijah’s fears and feelings of defeat and then explains to him that He has a plan for Elijah and comforts him.

Elijah is a bit different from the other Bible characters we have discussed so far because I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Elijah feeling defeat is a flaw. However, I think we often will see defeat in ourselves and because of it label ourselves as flawed. The beauty is that God had a plan for Elijah just as He does for you and I. He knows that we will have times that we feel completely drained and defeated but He is willing and able to replenish us.

-Lacey Dunn