Elijah was so discouraged. He had faithfully served the Lord standing up to 450 prophets of Baal. God powerfully expressed His wrath and destroyed the false prophets. One would imagine that Elijah’s faith had risen to another level. Things, however, took a sharp turn as word came from Jezebel. The wicked queen would not rest until he suffered the same fate. God’s terrified servant ran for his life, and he ran, and he ran. He ran for a day and fell down exhausted and alone in the desert.
1 Kings 19:4, “(He) 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!”” Elijah was overwhelmed to the point of feeling suicidal. God graciously caused him to sleep, He then provided a cake and some water and sent an angel to minister to him. Surely miraculous visitation and provision would lift the spirits of Elijah. Later on, and asleep in a cave the Word of the Lord came to him. 1 Kings 19:9-10 “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (10) So, he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.””
It seems strange does it not, Elijah witnessed God move in the most clinical and powerful way, he received divine revelation and provision, yet he was plagued by the threats of one woman. He saw himself alone and without hope. But is Elijah really all that strange? How easily do we forget God’s work in us and around us and become unsettled, fearful, and discouraged? Elijah is an example of how low we can get when we remove our eyes from God and His provision and focus upon what is wrong and how we would like things to be. A.W. Pink in his study on Elijah makes some fair criticisms of Elijah’s outlook and actions. Interestingly, Pink also withdrew into isolation being discouraged over the spiritual state of affairs around him. Elijah is not that unusual.
The Lord responded to Elijah, “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. (16) Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. (17) It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. (18) Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:15-18).
Things are not as they seem Elijah. There is a much bigger picture than your immediate circumstances. It is a lesson for all of us. While we find much to lament over spiritually – and we should lament, it is far from gloom and doom. God is always at work and working in ways unknown to us. God is always building His church and building it in the most unlikely of situations. God has His people in every place, even places that we would not expect. Some Christians spend far too much time lost in a world of “why this?” and “why that?” and “if only”.
Trust in the eternal, transcendent, sovereign God. Cause yourself to rejoice in the Lord and His many blessings. Find in Christ the strength, the resolve, the desire, the grace necessary to serve Him in the circumstances in which He has placed you. Look up Elijah, look up, God is still on His throne!