I’ve looked at this scripture many times but never thought of it like this. It shows us that God reveals truth when we need it. The Bible is a bottomless well. Every step walked by others was made because the Master paved the way.
It’s never that bad! Have you ever gotten to the point of wishing you were dead? Teenagesrs probably say it a lot. One of God’s great prophets was on the mountain of rejoicing one day and wishing he was dead the next. God was going to teach him a lesson. It’s never that bad!
God’s not dead! He’s alive and we live in him. In God, it’s never that bad.
I Kings 19:1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
In Chapter 18 you can’t help but praise God. It was a high moment in the life of Elijah but also in the nation of Israel. Jezebel cared nothing for things of God and wanted to make Israel a pagan nation. She brought in the worship of Baal. This worship went all the way back to the Tower of Babel. Israel had backslid and felt little hope. In spite of King Ahab and Jezebel, God called Elijah. He reminded them they were the people of God and should turn to him regardless of Baal, Ahab or Jezebel.
Let’s not listen to the Baal’s of this world. Times are bad yet there is still hope. God is still the same. Elijah told Ahab they were going to Mount Carmel. It’s in the north near current-day Lebanon. You can see in every direction from the mountain. The 400 prophets of Baal came and the prophet of God directed them to sacrifice a bullock and lay it on the altar. He would do the same. Each one would pray and the god or God that brought fire down from heaven would be the true God. We know what happened. The prophets of Baal screamed and cried for hours, even cutting themselves but nothing happened. Elijah’s turn came. He prayed to God and the fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice and lapped up the water they poured in the trenches. The people fell on their faces crying the Lord, he is God. It hadn’t rained in three years due to the backsliding of the people. Now the rains came. You may not see the answer to your prayer, but don’t give up.
The spell of Baal was broken. Jezebel was mad after Ahab told her what happened. She sent word to Elijah saying so let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. Even though God had shown his greatness, Elijah got scared and ran south. God does so much for us and before we know it, we’ve gone from the top of the mountain to the valley. Our faith is broken and we want to give up. We go from praising God to wishing we were dead. God knows how fickle we are. We start a prayer thanking God and before we finish it we’re complaining. No wonder it gets “bad”–he gives us a “whippin’.”
Jezebel wanted Elijah’s head. He should have marched right up to her and said here it is. Instead he ran south–downhill. We can’t run from life or the devil. Jonah tried that and ended up in the belly of a whale. You can’t outrun the Jezebel’s in your life. Elijah stopped at Beersheba, laid down under a juniper tree and slept. An angel woke him and told him to eat. He wanted to die. Is it that bad? He slept again. The angel woke him again and told him to eat. He jumped up and headed further south living on that bread for 40 days, all the way to Mount Horeb. This is where Mount Sinai is. He really could go no further.
There are times we’ll go as far as we can go down. At Mount Horeb we too will find the mountain of God. Moses was in this area for 40 years as a shepherd. God met him here giving him the Law. A cave was reserved for Elijah. He heard a voice, the one of God asking him what he was doing there. When things get bad and you teeter not knowing which way to go, God will provide. Is it that bad? No. It wasn’t that bad. God provided Elijah a meal two times. He provides for his children. We’ll find the voice of God even in the caves. With God it’s never that bad.
Before the chapter is over, Elijah is headed back to Mount Carmel. On the way he met a young man named Elisha. He sent the call to him and Elisha left his people and followed the prophet of God. There is always a new beginning with Jesus. It’s never that bad.