Summary: The life of Elijah is such an encouragement to us as we are able to identify with him in his reaction to the events of his day - God is the same for us today and is able to strengthen and enable us to witness for Him.
THE PROPHET WHO FELT LOSS
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.