"When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them." Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (I Kings 19:1-4)
After the Lord gave Elijah a resounding victory and putting to death 450 false prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah, Elijah loses his will to live after Jezebel promises to take his life. What brought this drastic change from victory to defeat? What caused him to run and give up at this woman’s threat?
Elijah proved to the people that the Lord is God, but he would have to do the same in his private world. When I read this, I thought how can Elijah lose his will so easily? I looked at how many times I struggle and fail to obey the Lord and began to identify with Elijah and what he was going through.
Elijah had a couple of things that got him off on the wrong track. Elijah was tired and hungry. We make horrible decisions based on how we physically feel all the time. This started a downward spiral for Elijah because he started making decisions based on how he felt and not on facts of God’s Word.
To remedy that problem, God began to attend to the physical problems that contributed to some of Elijah’s decision making. As simple as it may sound, God dealt with the first part of the problem by giving him rest and food. When people are under heavy stress, like the stress of somebody attempting to kill you, it’s good to be rested before making decisions. We all can learn from this important point to help us keep “feelings” out of the decision making process.
Have you ever wondered how you ended up in bad situations? Elijah was in the same predicament and God is going to help him to realize how he got there. (I Kings 19:5-6)
God allowed Elijah to use the elements to perform miraculous signs before the Israelites, but that’s not what Elijah needed and that’s exactly what God wanted to show him. God is interested in the “small” things and the Lord shows His patience by working with limited human beings to accomplish His goals. By the Lord appearing to Elijah in a gentle whisper, it showed him that the Lord’s word is what a man should base his decisions on, and live by. (I Kings 19:11-13 NLT)
“What are you doing here, Elijah?” The repeated question of the Lord forces Elijah to think about why he is at this place in his mind. Elijah for a brief time was operating based on his feelings. The lack of rest and food affects feelings and our sinful body always gives us input contrary to the facts, or to God’s Word. We are to live our lives by God’s Word…facts and not feelings. How many times have you heard people start a sentence with, "I feel", or "In my heart"…? What does the Bible say about our feelings and the heart? (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)
Look at what enters Elijah’s life when he started to listen to his feelings, doubt and fear. I don’t know of anyone who lives well with the constant up and downs of living by feelings. Feelings change constantly. We want to live our lives on facts that are “rock” solid, not feelings.
"And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them." I Peter 2:8 (NLT)
How many times has the Lord spoken to you and asked you the very same question he asked Elijah? For me, it’s been a number of times and counting, but His Word speaking to me keeps me on the right path. The next time you’re in a place that you shouldn’t be, you probably got there due to reacting on feelings and not on facts. If you hear the words, “What are you doing here?”, listen to facts, and the Word of God, and get back to accomplishing what God has set out for you to do.
In conclusion, in I Kings 19:15, God tells Elijah to, “Go back the same way you came…” Basically, return to the work I have for you.
Life will pull you off into all kinds of messes, but remember to hold diligently to the facts.
Posted on Mon, July 9, 2012
by Scott Stevenson