Summary: Elijah was a spiritual giant, and yet he had his days of disappointment and discouragement. God gently restores Elijah and, in doing so, we are reminded that God never fails us.
“We All Have Bad Days”
A little girl called Susie had been trying for months to learn how to tie her shoes. She finally grasped the knack and was able to do it by herself.
Susie’s parents expected her to be delighted.
Instead Susie started to cry.
Her father asked why she was crying. "I just learned how to tie my shoes", she sobbed. “But that is wonderful, so why are you crying?". Susie replied, "Because now I’ll have to do it all by myself for the rest of my life".
What Susie experienced is something that most of us have experienced at some time or another.
You can have moments when a great achievement occurs in your life – and then find yourself feeling somewhat flat soon after.
How many times has it been that you have gone on a great holiday – only to find yourself wishing for another one very soon after you got back.
There can be the exhilaration which comes with great blessing – and then reality sets in with a thud.
That is how life seems to go doesn’t it.
And it doesn’t just happen in our day to day life … it can happen in our spiritual life as well. Most of us enjoy a great relationship with the Lord and we can testify to His blessings in so many different ways. But there are the times when it isn’t like that.
We can have days when we feel under the hammer.
The experiences of loneliness can be very real.
There can be a sense where we seem to be sitting on the shelf.
God just doesn’t seem to be present and, if He is, then we’re just not seeing Him work for us. One such person who went through this exact situation is Elijah.
Elijah is a prophet a great prophet. When he first comes onto the scene in the Bible he confronts evil King Ahab from Israel and says, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1). It doesn’t rain for 3 ½ years.
So you can imagine that there was not a lot of good will between Elijah and Ahab. This lack of will was exacerbated by the fact that Ahab had married Jezebel – one of the cruellest queens in the history of Israel. And she was the one who wore the pants in the palace.
During the drought Elijah with a widow, where they were all looked after miraculously by God who provided a jar of flour that never ran out, and a jug of oil that never dried up. All this time Ahab and Jezebel get angrier ay Elijah – which eventually leads to a showdown on Mt Carmel.
You can read about it in Chapter 18 were we find 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah standing off against Elijah. The challenge is to see who can get their god to send down fire from heaven.
Elijah wins very convincingly.
All of this sparks a hope in Elijah that the nation of Israel is about to experience a spiritual revival.
Elijah expects Ahab to now repent and follow the true God.
Elijah expects Jezebel to be put back in her place and her religion to be denounced.
Elijah is looking for a change in the heart of the nation.
Indeed so confident is Elijah of change that he comes to the Lord in prayer so that the 3½ year drought would come to an end. In many ways it has been Elijah’s greatest day.
And then we get to chapter 19. Which is where we want to focus on.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword …
… so Ahab and Jezebel repented because they realised they had been in disobedience to the Lord.
That’s not what happens.
So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them”.
… then Elijah sent a message back saying, “Who do you think you are woman?. The Lord has just used me to remove 850 heathen prophets – what are you in His sight?”.
No. That is it either.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. KEEP READING TO VERSE 18
After all that Elijah has witnessed and done you just can’t imagine the story turning out this way. Single-handedly this prophet of God took on 850 prophets of evil, but one wicked woman says, “I'll get you,” and he caves. “Lord, I've had it. I'm turning in my prophet's badge”.