Thoughts about Elijah Running in Fear – 1 Kings 19:1-4
The Lord has had me ‘ruminating’ over these verses in 1 kings 19 for several weeks now. It seems the Lord wants to show me something. Here are some thoughts about these verses.
1 Kings 19:1-4
1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
2 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.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,
4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (NIV)
Why would such a powerful and annoited man of God be fleeing in fear from an evil woman’s threat?
Well, it is difficult to say (with accuracy) why Jezebel’s threat had such a fearful effect on Elijah. We know, for sure, that Jezebel was no match for God. And we know, for sure, Elijah had great faith and power from God – he had just called down fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice and had just put #450 prophets of Baal to death(read 1 Kings 18).
So this is THE burning question for these verses!: Why would such a powerful and annoited man of God be fleeing in fear from an evil woman’s threat?
Well, one thing is certain, Elijah ‘took onboard’ Jezebel’s threat and he had fled in fear of his life. It would seem to me that Elijah has had a ‘human’ moment. His humanity has kicked in, for whatever reason, and he is running for his life.
I’ve been thinking about Elijah’s words at the end of verse 4: “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Here, by the words we can tell, Elijah is really having a big crisis. God needs to slap this guy about the head and tell him to wake up to himself – right?
Wrong, God really deals with Elijah tenderly.
1 Kings 19:5-8
5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 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.”
8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. (NIV)
God sends an angel to provide bread and water to Elijah for the JOURNEY. What journey? Wasn’t Elijah just running for his life (anywhere away from Jezebel). I think so, for he took no provisions. Now he has a journey! Now he has a purpose and a destination. And the destination is to the MOUNTAIN OF GOD! Woohoo! Praise the Lord!
Did you notice the ‘forty days and forty nights’ bit? Well it’s not an accident :-). God cleansed the earth with rain for 40 days and 40 nights during the flood. Moses fasted for for days and forty nights before writing down the 10 commandments. Our Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before being tempted. This ‘journey to the mountain’ for Elijah was (potentually) a time of cleansing, a time of reflection and prayer and a time of subdueing and mastering the soul and the ‘flesh’.
Did it work?
To be continued…
P.S. I haven’t even touched on why I called it “Being at the Knife Edge of Faith” yet . Maybe it has something to do with faith and humanity(‘the flesh’)?
# In 1 Kings 18:19 it says this:
Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (NIV)
Did Elijah and the people allow the 400 prophets of Asherah (Baal was a male god and Asherah a female god) to escape?
My thought is no. They were also part of the problem in Israel. They have now become redundant because “The Lord, He is God”[v39] Also, not killing them would have amounted to doing half a job. Surely God would have rebuked Elijah for not killing them as well. Also of note is that these 850 false prophets were the ones that ‘ate at Jezebel’s table'[v19]. Perhaps a popular vocation in a time of famine 🙂 . Seeing that the people came from ‘all over Israel'[v19] was the number for false prophets greater than 850?[purely speculation]. Perhaps I should have said Elijah and the people ‘put at least 850 false prophets to death’.
P.P.S. Did you read 1 Kings 18? This is just something I found amusing in 1 Kings 18. It’s when Elijah mocks the prophets of Baal. Look at this translation of verse 27…
1 Kings 18:27
About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” [New Living Translation]
Perhaps your God has gone to the toilet – ho, ho, ho!