Down One Mountain Then Up Another
MAY 19 - Nº 139 1 Kings 19
King Ahab rushed into the palace and told Queen Jezebel everything that had happened on Mount Carmel. He explained how Elijah’s God had defeated her god and that all the prophets of Baal had been killed (see #138 - The Battle with Baal)! Jezebel was enraged! She immediately sent a servant to Elijah with this message: “By this time tomorrow, you will be dead!” Elijah, who had just bravely stood alone against the 450 crazed prophets of Baal, was suddenly frightened by one angry woman. Instead of trusting God, he fled from Israel and traveled all the way to the southern part of Judah. He left his servant in Beersheba and walked by himself into the wilderness. After a day in the hot desert sun, he collapsed under a juniper tree and prayed that God would let him die. Exhausted and alone, he fell asleep. After he slept for a while, an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around and saw a jar of water and some bread baking over hot coals. Elijah ate and drank and fell asleep again. The angel woke him a second time and said, “Get up and eat. You have a long trip ahead of you.” Strengthened by the food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights through the desert to Mount Sinai (also called Mount Horeb). When he got there, Elijah crawled into a cave to spend the night. In the morning the Lord came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” The prophet responded, “Lord, I have worked so hard for you, but nobody in Israel pays any attention. They have rejected your commandments and torn down your altars and killed your prophets. I am the only one left! And now they are trying to kill me, too!” The Lord told him to go outside of the cave and stand on the mountain. Suddenly a powerful wind hit the mountain and shattered the rocks. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind. Then there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake either. Then there was a fire. But the Lord was not there. In the silence that followed, Elijah heard a gentle whisper. He wrapped his cloak around his face and stood in the entrance of the cave. The voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah gave the same answer he had given earlier, emphasizing again that he was the only prophet left who served God. God informed Elijah that he was not alone. There were 7,000 men in Israel who had never bowed down to Baal. He gave Elijah specific instructions to go home through the Desert of Damascus. When he got there, he was to select a new king to reign over Israel and anoint Elisha to take his place as a prophet. When Elijah arrived back in Israel, he found Elisha plowing a field with oxen. Elijah walked up to the young man and threw his cloak over him. This was an invitation for Elisha to join the older prophet. Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “then I will follow you.” Elijah agreed. Elisha burned his wooden plow to make a fire. He killed the oxen and cooked a meal for his family. He was willing to give up everything he owned to follow God. Elisha became Elijah’s disciple, his companion, and his servant.
Do you ever get discouraged? Soon after his greatest victory, Elijah wanted to die. In order to get through this difficult time, Elijah needed time alone with God, a chance to see the situation from God’s perspective, and a friend to walk beside him. These are things we all need when we find ourselves becoming depressed.