Monday, May 26, 2008

Elijah Runs For His Life

Elijah Runs Away

1 Kings 19

1King Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how Elijah had
killed all the prophets with a sword. 2So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah,
saying, “May the gods punish me terribly if by this time tomorrow I don’t kill
you just as you killed those prophets.”

3When Elijah heard this, he was afraid and ran for his life, taking his servant
with him. When they came to Beersheba in Judah, Elijah left his servant there.
4Then Elijah walked for a whole day into the desert. He sat down under a bush
and asked to die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he prayed. “Let me die. I am no
better than my ancestors.” 5Then he lay down under the tree and slept.

Suddenly an angel came to him and touched him. “Get up and eat,” the angel
said. 6Elijah saw near his head a loaf baked over coals and a jar of water, so he
ate and drank. Then he went back to sleep.

7Later the LORD’S angel came to him a second time. The angel touched him
and said, “Get up and eat. If you don’t, the journey will be too hard for you.” 8So
Elijah got up and ate and drank. The food made him strong enough to walk for
forty days and nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. 9There Elijah went
into a cave and stayed all night.

Then the LORD spoke his word to him: “Elijah! Why are you here?”

10He answered, “LORD God All-Powerful, I have always served you as well
as I could. But the people of Israel have broken their agreement with you,
destroyed your altars, and killed your prophets with swords. I am the only
prophet left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

11The LORD said to Elijah, “Go, stand in front of me on the mountain, and I
will pass by you.” Then a very strong wind blew until it caused the mountains to
fall apart and large rocks to break in front of 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. 12After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the LORD was not in
the fire. After the fire, there was a quiet, gentle sound. 13When Elijah heard it, he
covered his face with his coat and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “Elijah! Why are you here?”

14He answered, “LORD God All-Powerful, I have always served you as well
as I could. But the people of Israel have broken their agreement with you,
destroyed your altars, and killed your prophets with swords. I am the only
prophet left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

15The LORD said to him, “Go back on the road that leads to the desert around
Damascus. Enter that city, and pour olive oil on Hazael to make him king over
Aram. 16Then pour oil on Jehu son of Nimshi to make him king over Israel. Next,
pour oil on Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to make him a prophet in
your place. 17Jehu will kill anyone who escapes from Hazael’s sword, and Elisha
will kill anyone who escapes from Jehu’s sword. 18I have seven thousand people
left in Israel who have never bowed down before Baal and whose mouths have
never kissed his idol.”

Elisha Becomes a Prophet

19So Elijah left that place and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field
with a team of oxen. He owned twelve teams of oxen and was plowing with the
twelfth team. Elijah came up to Elisha, took off his coat, and put it on Elisha.
20Then Elisha left his oxen and ran to follow Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and
my mother good-bye,” Elisha said. “Then I will go with you.”

Elijah answered, “Go back. It does not matter to me.”

21So Elisha went back and took his pair of oxen and killed them. He used
their wooden yoke for a fire. Then he cooked the meat and gave it to the people.
After they ate it, Elisha left and followed Elijah and became his helper.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


In one moment God displayed his power, and Elijah triumphed over the prophets of Baal. In the next, God's prophet ran for his life from Jezebel who sought revenge. He hid in the desert.


God cares for his servants both in moments of triumph and defeat. He remains present with those who trust him.


In the barren prairie, the hiker huddles down. The cold northerly sweeps over him, stinging his face and numbing his fingers. The whistle of the wind is deafening. The hiker hugs his knees to his chest, yearning for warmth.

He doesn't move. The sky is orange with dirt. His teeth are grainy, his eyes sooty. He thinks of quitting, Going home. Home to the mountains.

"Ahh, The mountains:” The spirit that moved him in the mountains seems so far away. For a moment, his mind wanders back to his homeland. Green country. Mountain trails. Fresh water. Hikers hiking on well-marked trails. No surprises, few fears, rich companionship.

One day, while on a brisk hike, he had stopped to look out from the mountains across the neighboring desert. He felt strangely pulled to the sweeping barrenness that lay before him. The next day he paused again. And the next, and the next. "Shouldn't someone try to take life to the desert?" Slowly the flicker in his heart became a flame.

Many agreed that someone should go, but no one volunteered.

Uncharted land, fearful storms, loneliness.

But the hiker, spurred by the enthusiasm of others, determined to go. After careful preparation, he set out, alone. With the cheers of his friends behind him, he descended the grassy highlands and entered the desolate wilderness.

The first few days his steps were springy and his eye was keen. He yearned to do his part to bring life to the desert. Then came the heat. The scorpions. The monotony. The snakes. Slowly, the fire diminished. And now ... the storm. The endless roar of the wind. The relentless, cursed cold.

"I don't know how much more I can take." Weary and beaten, the hiker considers going back. "At least I got this far." Knees tucked under him, head bowed, almost touching the ground. "Will it ever stop?"

Grimly he laughs at the irony of the situation. "Some hiker. Too tired to go on, yet too ashamed to go home." Deep, deep is the struggle. No longer can he hear the voices of friends. Long gone is the romance of his mission. No longer does he float on the fancifulness of a dream.

"Maybe someone else should do this. I'm too young, too inexperienced." The winds of discouragement and fear whip at his fire, exhausting what is left of the flame. But the coals remain, hidden and hot.

The hiker, now almost the storm's victim, looks one last time for the fire. (Is there any greater challenge than of stirring a spirit while in the clutches of defeat?) Yearning and clawing, the temptation to quit is gradually overcome by the urge to go on. Blowing on the coals, the hiker once again hears the call to the desert. Though faint, the call is clear.

With all the strength he can summon, the hiker rises to his feet, bows his head, and takes his first step into the wind. (From On the Anvil by Max Lucado)


Are you facing a life challenge? Are you discouraged and wondering why circumstances have suddenly taken a turn for the worse? Where is God? Run to God to help you! Everywhere, anytime, God has resources to help you.


Desert Experiences - Matthew 4:1-11; 28:19-20; Acts 5:1-32; 16:16-24; Hebrews 13:5-8.

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