Summary: One step to recovery after any sort of 'burn-out' might be to eat. However, our spiritual 'feeding' is of far deeper significance.
THE NATURE OF ‘ANGEL FOOD’
An angel awoke Elijah, providing sustenance and instructing him to eat. Elijah ate, and then lay down again. The LORD knew that the onward journey to the mountain of God would otherwise be too much for him, so the angel again fed him. “Elijah was able to go in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights.”
It is surely significant that this food was administered by an angel (cf. Matthew 4:11). Of course, one step - if not indeed ‘Step One’ - on the road to recovery after any kind of ‘burn-out’ can be to eat, even when we don’t feel like it. However, our spiritual ‘feeding’ is of far deeper significance.
1. The Bread of Life
Faced with the possibility of food that sustains us for forty days and forty nights, we might find ourselves standing with the Galileans who said to Jesus: ‘Lord, evermore give us this bread.’ They recalled God’s provision of manna in the wilderness, but Jesus now presented Himself as the true bread which comes down from heaven, who gives life to the world. Perhaps we are beginning to see here the nature of Elijah’s angel cakes.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Of course, we are not cannibals. Our hunger is satisfied when we “come” to Jesus. Our thirst is satisfied when we “believe” on Him. This is spiritual sustenance of the highest order.
Jesus emphasized again that He is the bread of life. Unlike the manna which was eaten by men that are now dead, Jesus is the living bread which when a man “eats” (i.e. puts his whole trust in Jesus) causes him to live for ever. This is made possible because of the sacrifice which Jesus was going to make: “the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).
# Bible reading is one way of ‘feeding’ upon Jesus (Jeremiah 15:16).
2. The Water of Life
The Galileans were still thinking in earthy and earthly terms. In this they were not unlike the Samaritan woman, who asked Jesus for the ‘water’ that He was offering, so that she might no longer need to draw water at the well (John 4:14-15).
Isaiah 55 begins with a call to the thirsty to come to the waters. This is in order to quench, not a physical thirst, but a spiritual thirst.
As water was symbolically poured out at the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood in the Temple and called out: “If anyone thirsts, let Him come to me and drink” (John 7:37).
The promised living water is the Holy Spirit, promised to those who believe in Jesus. The free offer of the water of life is held out to the spiritually thirsty until the very last page of the Bible (Revelation 22:17).
# Prayer also nurtures our spiritual life. When we pray to the Father through Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit prays with us (Romans 8:26).
There is a similarity in Elijah’s experience to Abraham’s encounter with the mysterious ‘king of Salem’ (Genesis 14:18).
“Let a man examine himself,” says Paul, “and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.”
# There is an efficacy in the Communion which equips us not only spiritually, but also physically, for our ongoing journey with the Lord.