It was 450 against one. The “one” being Elijah. The 450 were prophets of the false god, Baal. 1 Kings 18 tells the epic story of one of the greatest miracles of the Bible! Most of you probably know the story, but for those who don’t I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version. (But it would probably be best just to read it.)
Elijah wanted to prove to the people that Baal was a false god, and that GOD was real. So he challenged Baal’s prophets to prove that their god could deliver fire from heaven. Very long story very short, God was the only One able to bring fire from heaven, and He did it in the coolest way!
Elijah was kind of a rock star that day! He was courageous and faithful, and he seemed like a man of great stature in that story.
Flip the page to chapter 19.
The Elijah we see now, just a couple of days later, is very, very different.
1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
Where is his zeal? Where is his hope? Where is his faith???
I don’t think this is very uncommon in scripture. Most great men of God have had at least one “off day.” Most of us have had our share, too.
I don’t really know what changed from one day to the next for Elijah to change his outlook so drastically. But to THIS Elijah, I can relate!
Some days, I am a courageous little stroke survivor, a generally supportive wife ( I hope so!), and days when I feel like “Mom of the Year.” (Well, actually it’s more like “Mom of the Minute.”)
Then, there are other days, when the last thing I want to be called is a “survivor”. Days when I feel like I cannot be supportive at all anymore. And also those days when I feel like my kids would do better in anyone else’s home but mine.
And I’m starting to think that’s normal!
That’s why I like Elijah so much. He is strong. He is weak. He is full of faith.
And full of fear.
But God loved him, whichever way he was on any given day. Look at the next few verses:
5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
I LOVE these verses!
“Arise and eat.” At first I thought that was a little weird. Why wouldn’t God say “rest and eat”? Why “arise”?
Because more than anything else, he needed to get up. He was so very low. Maybe even at his lowest in his life. So God tells him to arise. Now, I just think it’s beautiful, and not weird at all.
I also love the very end of this passage. “The journey is too great for you.” No truer words have been said about any of our lives! This journey we are all on, as different as each of them might be, are ALL to great for any of us. Alone. God never asks us or even wants us to walk this road alone. He wants to journey with us, to walk with us, and often, carry us home.
I haven’t written much in the last two or three weeks. And that’s because I felt like a failure in most of the larger areas of my life. But God has given me some hope today.
He told Elijah to arise.
And He wants us to arise, too.