Summary: We are called on to act in a manner that pleases God. Elijah’s actions did not please God, but God still gave him what he needed to persevere in faith. We are called on to be united in Christ. We are to be one body that is wholly obedient to God.
The events we read about in 1 Kings 19:1-9 occur just after Elijah and God have won the challenge against the gods of Baal. As a result of the deaths of the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah. Elijah has been forced to flee for his life.
Elijah was discouraged. He had faced setbacks in his work. He was hungry, alone, tired, discouraged and lonely. He was vulnerable and made a rash decision-he wanted to die. Discouragement happens in life, but to be discouraged is a choice. Some of you faced discouragement when you were forced to move here to Queens Manor because of age or other health concerns, and some of you might have become discouraged and wanted to die, but you didn’t give up. You hung in there and made the best of the situation.
Elijah’s forty days in the desert parallels Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness and Moses’ first trip to Mount Horeb. Will Elijah find God like Moses did? If he does, will it make a difference in his attitude? The answer to both questions is yes. God corrected Elijah’s impression that he was the only righteous person in the land. In fact, Elijah had seven thousand brothers and sisters in Christ in the land. Elijah fled not to escape death, but to have a spiritual retreat with God where he could pour out his troubles, concerns and feelings. He needed the power of the Holy Spirit to help him overcome his difficulties.
Part of Elijah’s problem was that he did not keep his spiritual armour on. The devil likes to attack after moments of great spiritual triumph. These are times when we are the most vulnerable spiritually. The devil attacked Jesus right after his birth when Herod plotted to kill the baby Jesus. The devil tempted Jesus during his 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism. When Elijah reached the end of his rope, God was there for him just like he is there for us when we want to give up. God sustained Elijah with bread, meat and water, just like the bread and wine we consume during Holy Communion help to sustain us spiritually.
We do not have to give in when we face discouragement. We can pray to God for the strength we need to face any setbacks life throws at us. Being with God in prayer and careful study of His Word will help us stay faithful. God’s grace and provision helped Elijah, and it still helps us today. Elijah had to learn to trust God, and we also have to learn to trust God. Just because we don’t hear from him doesn’t mean he is silent. He is still at work in our lives.
We, like Elijah, needed to learn several lessons:
1. We need to pay attention to God.
2. We need to focus our lives on God.
3. We need to humble our hearts and thoughts before God. We must remember that we are no better or no worse that believers who have gone before us.
4. We need physical rest, because tired bodies will pull down our spiritual lives.
5. We need God’s touch in our lives.
6. We must trust God.
7. We must pray to God.
8. We must obey God.