1 KINGS 19:1-18
“Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 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.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life”
The mighty prayer warrior now fears for his life! Why did Elijah run for his life? Was it because he doubted God’s power to deliver him from the anger of Jezebel? Was it because he felt that his work for God was coming to an end? There is certainly no indication given to us in the narrative for his running away, thus we are left to speculate. Whatever his reasons may have been, God does use this incident to teach His servant, as well as to teach us today, some important lessons concerning His love and care for all His servants.
Many of God’s servants who find themselves standing alone in opposition to the enemy and his forces of evil, facing difficult and demanding circumstances, can truly identify with Elijah when he cried out to God: ”I have had enough, LORD,” he said”
This type of struggling can be very exhausting on the servant of God, and can easily and quickly lead to mental and physical “burn out”, and God’s servant must literally run and hide from the situation, until strengthened and refreshed by the Spirit of God.
GOD STRENGTHENS AND REFRESHES HIS SERVANT
“Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
God’s care for us at such times is the only real cure for our spiritual ailment, and as He works on us through others we can respond to His loving care. . Thus as God’s servant is strengthened and refreshed, new energy is given to finish the task. And as God desires, He sends us on to new areas of service. “So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.”
A NEW PHASE OF SERVICE
God is now about to reveal to Elijah a new phase of service, so He brings His servant to a place where He can show Himself to Elijah in a different way. Mount Horeb (an alternative name for Sinai) had been a place where God had spoken in “special” ways to His people. Through Fire He called Moses: . He supplied water for His people: . He gave His law and covenant: .
God is now going to reveal Himself to Elijah in a different way, as He prepares His servant for the next phase of his service. But as God speaks we can see ourselves in Elijah’s response. How easy it is to complain to God for all that has come upon us, instead of looking beyond our trials and troubles and trying to see God’s purpose we continue to see only our hurts. God had refreshed His servant, and it was now time for him to continue his mission, instead he refused to move on: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” : often we think that God should strike “a death blow” to the enemy forces because we have served Him so faithfully, and they have treated us so unfairly; but this is not God’s way, and this was God’s lesson to His servant Elijah.
“The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
The Lord was not in the wind; the Lord was not in the earthquake; the Lord was not in the fire; God here indicates to Elijah that He was staying His Hand in judgement, even though Elijah had suffered so much wrong and his life was in jeopardy. God still had further use for His servant, and Elijah needed to get on with the job. God is waiting for some action, and asks the question again:.”What are you doing here, Elijah?” . Again Elijah repeats his complaints and God has to be very blunt and to the point: “The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came” .In spite of all the suffering we endure in God’s service, there are times when we must recognize God’s purposes; .
“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform”; and this way is difficult to understand, we should however listen for “His gentle whisper”:
God seldom, if ever, will act in response to judgmental requests from His servant! Samson had to learn this hard and difficult lesson ; the early believers had to wait on this power from God ; and we today must understand that we cannot serve Him in our own strength: .
COMPLETE THE UNFINISHED TASK
“What are you doing here Elijah? Go back the way you came”. Go and anoint kings whom I (God) can use to complete My judgement upon sinful men; anoint yourself a successor. Your work is ending, and others will be raised up to continue the job. Yes there does come a time when God is finished with His servant, and the task of continuing must be passed on to another, and God’s servant must be faithful in the transition period as well.
“The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel– all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” .
God’s work will continue unto the end, and He will continue to raise up new servants to take over from those who have completed their part of His work.