Now let’s look at another question God asked, (of His prophet Elijah)
I kings Chapter 19
Previously we looked at one of the most powerful events in human history – the challenge on Mount Carmel of Elijah, the prophet of God against 850 false prophets. In chapter eighteen we witnessed the Godly power of a powerful man of God. We saw Elijah, unafraid and outnumbered. We witnessed the man of God standing alone in the face of overwhelming apostasy and wickedness. Jezebel had killed off almost all of the rest of Isaiah’s counterparts. Out of hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions, only 7,000 remained as true believers. Remember that Elijah stood majestically before the people and asked, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, (which He is), follow Him; but if Baal, (or anything else), is God, (which is not), then follow him.” Seems like a simple enough choice doesn’t it? But the people, “said nothing.”
In this chapter we witness a tremendous satanic attack against the prophet. We witness a phenomena that often seems to happen to God’s servants after such a time of victory and power – weakness and fear! Satan’s tactics have not changed over the millennia. He often attempts to do this to you and me also, after we are saved by believing in Jesus, the Son of God and accepting Him as our savior and become “born again.” In the book of Ephesians, we are told that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” More and more I am learning the powerful truth of this verse. Now whenever I am faced with entering into a verbal, (or even physical) altercation with someone, this verse comes to mind and I realize the “battle belongs to the Lord.” Keep this in mind when you are faced with a disagreement with anyone. In your heart, call on the Lord to help you.
Verse 2 – Jezebel was puffed-up. She was full of hot air. The Bible says, “Do not fear him who has the power to kill the body only but rather fear Him who has power to destroy the spirit.”
Verse 3 – the prophet was “afraid,” and ran away from trouble instead of running into it, (unlike chapter 18). Notice that he ran into the wilderness – to a place of solitude, to a place where he could “get away from it all,” to think, to reflect on everything that had happened and that was continuing to happen. Jesus himself often went to such a place to commune with the Father. Sometimes it was a garden. Sometimes the desert or the wilderness. A place where He was free of destraction from time and demands of ministry.
Usually when we are afraid, we run from God or the task he has assigned for us to do. Many are running from God today because they do not understand Him or are afraid of Him.
Elijah was so fearful for his life and discouraged that he wanted to die, (vs. 4). He was tired, (vs.5). He lay down under a tree. Imagine falling asleep on the ground under a tree. I can relate. Many years ago I spoke to a friend of mine by phone who lived in Arizona, over a thousand miles from me. My friend was not a Christian and was becoming involved with false religious and satanic teachings. I asked if it would be alright if I came to see him. I wanted to spend time with him in person and tell him about the gospel of Jesus Christ, face-to-face. He agreed. At the time, I was working and had very little money. When I hung up the phone I did not know how I would make the trip. My wife and baby son were away on a trip with her parents. I prayed and told the Lord that if He wanted me to go see my friend, He would need to make a way for me to go. The next day I was fired from my job for a ridiculous reason. When I began to doubt that God was answering my prayer and “working things out,” I was stung by a hornet. I decided to go. I drove my car to a parking lot of a hotel next to the interstate highway and hitch-hiked to Arizona. It was an adventure I will never forget. By the time I reached Idaho Falls, I was sick from the sting. I found a clinic and got some medication but since I had nothing to eat, I had become very sick. By the time I reached Salt Lake City, it was late at night. Two hunters picked me up and gave me a ride into downtown SLC. I asked to be dropped off at the Rescue Mission with the hope I would be able to get some rest in a secure place. One of the hunters was kind and polite to me, the other was threatening and mean-spirited. They dropped me off shortly after midnight. Upon learning the mission was full, I now found myself alone and somewhat fearful in downtown SLC. I had no money and no place to stay. I was very ill from the sting, the medication and having eaten nothing. I walked to the police station in the hope they would be able to assist. They had nothing to offer. It was now well after midnight. I was at the point of exhaustion and prayed to God for help and protection. All around were prostitutes and drug dealers. I noticed a very large pine tree in a city park that had thick branches that hung all the way down to the ground, decided to make my way to the tree, lay down underneath it and try to hide myself under its branches. I hoped I would still be alive by sunrise. Just as I was ready to crawl under the tree, I looked down the street and barely noticed, since it was a long way away, several men standing outside a building. I sensed something different about them and felt drawn to them. I did not realize it at the time, but God was leading me to them. As I approached, it was as if they were a lamp on a very dark and threatening night. The store was actually a non-denominational street ministry. These brothers in Christ took me in, gave me a comfortable room for the night and a great breakfast after I awoke from a very restful and peaceful sleep. “Our God is a refuge and help in times of trouble.” He is a “fortress and a strong tower.”
Verse 5 – Rest and nourishment were needed for healing, for restoration. There is more to the story of Elijah, the prophet that I will discuss in part III of this series.
For me, the rest of my journey went well. After a great time of fellowship with the believers at the street ministry, I made my way to Arizona where I met with my friend who accepted Christ. I then secured several rides all the way back to Montana and after arriving home, was offered a much better and higher paying job than the one I had previously. Our God is an awesome God! There is no greater joy known to man than that of loving and serving Him.