Summary: Even when you feel alone, God has not left you.
Sermon Title “I think I will go eat worms.”
Text; 1 Kings 19 1-8
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
This morning we are going to look at the Old Testament reading where we find the story of Elijah running away from Queen Jezebel. He is sitting under a broom tree. It is really a broom shrub as he tried to get out of the desert sun. As we can tell from the text, he was not a happy camper.
To find out how Elijah had gotten himself into such a wretched position, we need to look at 1 Kings 18, where the writer tells us that the people Elijah was ministering to were of two different opinions. They could not decide on whom to follow, God or Baal. Elijah had to get them away from following the idol Baal, so he set up a test between God and Baal. He challenged the prophets of Baal to see whose God would answer their prayers and send fire to burn the sacrifice.
God won in a rather dramatic fashion when he sent fire from the sky. It not only burned up the sacrifice of Elijah, but also the stones of the altar, the soil, and all the water that surrounded the altar.
I can just see the Baal prophets standing there with their mouths open, as the fire came down and consumed everything while their altar remained untouched. It was not a good day for the Baal prophets. By the end of the day all 450 of them were dead.
As you can imagine King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were not happy about what Elijah had done and so they ordered him killed. Elijah thought the better part of valor was to run, so he ran all the way out into the desert. That is where we find him sitting, trying to get some shade from that broom shrub. He is crying out to the Lord. “I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."
Every time I read this text, I am reminded of that old campfire song that goes something like this. “Nobody like me. Everybody hates me. I’m going to eat some worms. Long, slim, slimy ones. Short, fat, juicy ones. Itsy, bitsy, fuzzy, wuzzy worms. I will not go any further, in case there is anybody here with a weak stomach. Nobody like me. Everybody hates me. I’m going to eat some worms, yup, that is probably what Elijah was thinking.
Elijah was throwing himself, some kind of pity party. When you look at all the trouble Elijah had in his life, you cannot blame him for being depressed. First, as a prophet he did not think he was very successful for the vast majority of the people would not accept God. Second, King Ahab and Jezebel wanted him dead. Third, he thought he was the only prophet left in the kingdom, talk about feeling alone. Fourth, he was sitting in the desert, had no food, no water, very little shade and on top of it, his servant was a days journey away, if he even was waiting for him. If he was like everyone else, he had probably headed back to town as soon as Elijah was out of sight. Elijah was sure that he was alone and nobody cared if he died, in fact he was pretty sure that everyone wanted him dead.
A little further in the chapter we find that Elijah had become a real whiner as he called out to God, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." What he was really saying to God was, “You owe me because I have been faithful.” Elijah’s real problem was not all those bad things that were going on in his life. His problem was that he had turned his eyes in on himself.
He had forgotten that beside the normal every day taking care of, that God does for all people; God had taken special care of him during a previous three-year drought. Two years into the famine, when all the food was running out, God told Elijah go to a certain house where he would find a widow living with her son. That she would take care of him. We read in1 Kings 17, that when he got there she told him, "I don’t have any bread-- only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it-- and die." Elijah told her to make something for him to eat anyway. Continuing in the text, 15 She went and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.