Have you ever faced discouragement? Have you ever experienced a great victory in your life, spiritual or otherwise? The emotional high is wonderful. You feel so good. Everything looks better, feels better, tastes better. Life is sweet. Then it happens. One sad sack enters the room and tells you how bad everything is. One critic points out a flaw. One well meaning but misguided soul says, “but….”. One self-appointed corrector of your direction says, “I’m so burdened about thus and so, and I’ve been praying that God would lead you to …..”. You know what I’m talking about. All it takes is one nay-sayer. They prick and your balloon slams into a head-first crash on the hard ground. If it has never happened to you, you haven’t lived very long or done very much. It happened to Elijah, only much worse.
Elijah was about as high as a man could be. All by himself, he faced down the King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and their 450 false prophets of Baal. God responded to Elijah’s pleas in as decisive and dramatic fashion as man has ever seen. Elijah’s prayers brought fire down from heaven. God’s response to Elijah caused the children of Israel to fall on their faces and repeatedly proclaiming that Jehovah is God. At Elijah’s command the people rose up and killed all of the 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah prayed again and God sent a mighty rainstorm ending a three year nationwide drought. The power of God fell on Elijah and he outran King Ahab’s horse drawn chariot all the back to the palace at Jezreel which was at least 17 miles away, and maybe as much as 25 miles away. Have you ever had a day like that? I didn’t think so. But you have experienced blessing and victory. You know what it is like.
Elijah arrived at the palace in Jezreel and there she was, Jezebel, the wicked queen. Jezebel threatened to kill him. Jezebel was the power on the throne, not Ahab. Jezebel exercised absolute power, with no one or no law to answer to. Jezebel had the soldiers at her disposal to have Elijah killed. Have you ever encountered a threat like that? I didn’t think so. But you have had the air let out of your balloon. You know what it is like.
Granted, humanly speaking, Jezebel could have easily carried out her threat. Still, what could Elijah been thinking? He had just experienced first-hand, up close and personal, the power of the mighty hand of El Shaddai, the God Who Is More Than Able. Surely God had acted to vindicate His own Name, but in the process He had certainly validated Elijah. God had revealed to the whole nation that Elijah was His special man, His spokesman. Yet, when Jezebel hissed, Elijah became afraid and ran. What happened to Elijah? What could cause him to tuck tail and run? Why would he fear some wicked queen when Almighty God was with him?
Elijah didn’t just run; he ran for forty plus days. He wound up at Mt. Sinai (Horeb) where God had given the Law to Moses. The comparisons to the forty year wilderness wandering and Moses’ forty days on Mt. Sinai are very interesting but that is not my point here. 1 Kings 19 tells us that while Elijah was at Mt. Sinai, God asked him not once but twice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” I don’t think God was at all concerned with his location, except for how it related to his state of mind, i.e. his faith. Elijah gave the same word-for-word answer both times. He told God how good Elijah was, how bad the rest of the people were, that he was all alone, and that his life was in danger.
None of what Elijah said was false. His problem was that he never mentioned God at all. He never factored God into his thinking. He did not consider the power of God and the love of God. Have you ever faced discouragement and fear and exhaustion? Have you ever forgotten to consider the help available to you from the God who has already shown Himself mighty on your behalf? Have you ever been where Elijah was? I thought you had. God says to you, “What are you doing there?”
We ought not to fear man. When the critic criticizes, when we feel all alone, we ought to turn to God because no one else has the authority and the ability to help us. No one else loves us enough to help us. Not turning to Him is a slam against His character. Does He not have the power to help? Does He not love you enough to help?