THE PROPHET WHO FELT LOSS
1 KINGS 19:1-19
Elijah was one of the greatest prophets of all time. God produced many mighty miracles through him; yet we see him at one of the low points in his life; in fact perhaps one of the darkest moments of his life.
Amazingly, this dark period takes place immediately after one of the brightest times in his life - this valley experience occurs right after a mountain top experience. He had seen God demonstrate His awesome power, and heard the people declare ‘The Lord, He is God’. From this pinnacle of spiritual success, he plummets down to the depth of despair. As we pick-up the account in I Kings 19 we find this great man of God fleeing for his life!
If we think this account through, we may well find that it is just like looking in a mirror! Haven’t you felt like running away from it all? Let’s identify with this great man, and learn from his experience.
We find our first sight of Elijah is of
ELIJAH RUNNIG 1-3
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
Elijah is running for his life after winning the incomparable battle of his life. Triumph can quickly turn to trials. It’s a small step from the mountain top to the valley bottom - from dramatic victory to disheartening downfall - from faith to fear.
Remember Peter’s experience – He said ‘I will ‘never forsake you Lord’ - he drew his sword to protect his Master, yet after the arrest of Jesus, he follows the Lord from a distance, and denies him three times.
If we are willing to be honest, we have all been there!
Things could only get worse, or so it seemed! Take note of
ELIJAH REQUESTING V4
He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die.
The requested was for himself - that he might die.
"I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." [NIV]
I am sure that those words ‘I have had enough’ will sound familiar. But let us seek to determine what Elijah is doing here? How did he get to this point?
I want to suggest to you that the road he took is still open, and we need to take care where we are heading. When we have known a might victory, or a special anointing from the Lord, it is then we need to take special care of ourselves. Look at what happened with Elijah.
HE WAS DEPLETED BY HIS VICTORY.
We would expect Elijah to be rejoicing in the great demonstration of God’s power that had taken place on the mountain. To be used by the Lord in such a manner is demanding. Here we see Elijah physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted - Elijah is running on empty. Keep your eye on the fuel gauge! Keep topped up! Here is a warning signal for us all. If you are going to be used by the Lord, then remember that you can only give out, if you take in!
Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit. [Amp]
HE WAS DISCONCERTED BY FEAR. V 2
This great prophet of God who was victorious in a spiritual battle with 500 prophets of Baal on Carmel – the man of God who called down fire from heaven and caused rain to come after years of drought – now runs away from Jezebel, a powerful woman, but still a woman. He had God on his side. He could have learned form David, who said,
Psalm 56: 10-11 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise - in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
HE WAS DISABLED BY ISOLATION.
3 When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there
What Elijah needed most right now was friends, and fellowship! What he chooses was loneliness! He left his servant at Beersheba. This is a common happening, when things go wrong, or when they get difficult, we tend to keep to ourselves. The Word of God says
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
It is a fact that we need each other; we are all parts of ‘the body’
HE WAS DISILLUSIONED BY EXPECTATIONS.
I am no better than my ancestors.
Being disillusioned and discouraged is really quite normal! If we look carefully we see that this was something shared by others who were in the service of the Lord! Take Jonah as just one illustration.
Jonah 4:3 Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” [NLT]
In both of these cases the problem was of their own making. Both were running away from the duty given them by the Lord. Death is not the way out! It could be the way in to greater problems, for death is final. While we live we can still change our direction. Let us not seek a way out. We can change our direction here and now.
We need to allow God into the situation, for He can still change circumstances. Note how He deals with Elijah. Here again is another common problem when things go wrong. We can stop eating! Let me suggest that you have a good meal! That is what the Lord provided for Elijah. He even sent an angel to attend to him!
Hebrews 1:14 Angels are servants - spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. [NLT]
Psalm 91:11 He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
ELIJAH RECEIVING. 5-7
He did not get what he prayed for - death; but he got what he needed - he was strengthened. He was
TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL
All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat".
TREATED BY AN ANGEL
He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water.
TRANSFORMED BY AN ANGEL
Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
What was it he received?
Fellowship through a touch (contact):
Food to sustain him (cake):
Future direction for his ministry (commission).
ELIJAH REVIVING 8-14
So he got up and ate and drank.
There is a part for us to play in the working out of the plan of God. What a privilege we have – to work with God! Part of the working with God can include very simple things such as eating a proper meal! [Looking after our bodies].
he travelled for forty days and forty nights.
When God calls us to do a work for Him, He will also provide the ability to complete the task.
he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
Exodus 16:35 The Israelites ate manna for forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.
It doesn’t matter if it is forty days, or forty years, the provision of the Lord is sufficient to see us to the end. Please take not of the words of the Lord to Paul,
II Corinthians 12:9 He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
It doesn’t matter how we feel, it is God’s Word to us that matters.
REMINDED OF GOD’S PRESENCE
11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by"
REMINDED OF GOD’S POWER
11 Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks . . . After the wind there was an earthquake . . . 12 After the earthquake came a fire. . . And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
REMINDED OF GOD’S PLANS
15Anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat . . . to succeed you as prophet.
REMINDED OF GOD’S PEOPLE.
18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel - all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."
Elijah is not alone. He has an All Powerful God guiding him, and instructing him - and God reminds him that He is not alone in his work and service. We can feel all alone, but God has many people working for Him, and with Him. Our place is to be faithful where we are.
Do you feel discouraged? Are you depressed and on the verge of giving up? Do you feel a failure?
Don’t give in to such attitudes! You are not profitless, but of great value. God can lift you out of your state of disillusionment, and get you started on the journey again! Trust in him right now. Receive the nourishment he has for you!