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Posts Tagged ‘#elijah’

Just this week, I realized I have never written about Elijah. A giant of the faith! A hero. A prophet. One who God used to orchestrate miracles. One who teaches us so much … about God.

Not only have I not written about Elijah, but I realized I did not know well the stories of Elijah. So, guess what I have been reading this week?!

A friend had referenced the story of Elijah and how God encouraged him to eat and sleep when Elijah was in the depths of despair. That it is a model of how God encourages the same of us.

I checked out the story.

Elijah had done the work of God, faithfully, confidently. He was the one through whom God’s plan to thwart the intent of Ahab and Jezabel in the indoctrination of the worship of Baal upon people of God. Through the challenge given by Elijah, 450 prophets of Baal were killed after they could not elicit a response from their god (thus proving the lack of existence of such a god).

Lets just say Jezabel was a bit miffed at this loss of ‘her’ prophets (and perhaps the egg left on her face) and she threatened Elijah’s life.

Now, one might think, after such a great success that the threatening words of a mere mortal would be as nothing to the ears of one who had just shown God’s strength and power through such a large scale miraculous show. But this was not the headspace of Elijah … (1 Kings 19:3):

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”

Fear is a response. Sometimes our fears are valid. But, sometimes fear is a response not to the threat, but because we are weak, tired, not in a place of good health.

Elijah’s fear, that took him to fleeing … it (his fear) originated in his own deficiencies, not in his fear of Jezabel.

Not only did he run away (into the desert), but his fatigue was so great he didn’t even want to live (1 Kings 19:5)

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Then he lie down and slept … I expect there was nothing else that he could do at this point.

We don’t know how long he had been sleeping, but (and I love the next verses, v. 5-6)

“All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.”

So … this angel shows up with a midnight snack, which he eats then goes back to sleep. No awe, no wow … he just eats and drinks and rolls over. Why? Because he is so exhausted that the natural responses are muted.

“The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 

So (v. 7), the angel comes back, wakes him to yet more food and drink. This time introducing a journey.

“So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.”

Without a word (v. 8-9), Elijah just does what he is told. He gets up, eats and drinks, then travels for forty days and forty nights (still in the desert … hum, didn’t Jesus spend the same time in a desert?). He went into a cave and slept yet again. He is exhausted! Yet, he does as he is told. Is it because he is too exhausted to put up a fight? Does he instinctively know this angel of the Lord is God’s own messenger? Why doesn’t God correct Elijah’s despair of life? Why doesn’t God tell Elijah to pull himself up by his bootstraps? Why doesn’t God frown and say, “stop the naval gazing and get on with it”?

God knows that Elijah is exhausted. God knows that he cannot see the forest for the trees … he is not thinking right. God knows that Elijah’s soul needs are best first met through physical ones.

Eat, sleep, move …

These are the instructions that Elijah receives from this angel of the Lord (a pretty significant entity throughout the Bible).

What is the lesson? Well, I am still studying this one, but this I am coming to see … God’s medicinal care instruction for us, when we are exhausted, is to care for our physical needs … the basic needs we have as a newborn … so that we can begin again to live.

This is the way of the Lord.

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Karla Sullivan

Progressive old soul wordsmith

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