This week as we continue our series, Prayers of the Bible, we will be looking at Elijah. The passage we are sitting with isn’t an actual prayer, or maybe it is. I guess it depends on how you define prayer. If prayer is a conversation with God, then we it counts, I think.
Our scripture this week is 1 Kings 19:1-15…
19 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. He ate and drank and lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8 He got up and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. 9 At that place he came to a cave and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
11 He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.
What stands out to you in this passage?
Elijah has just experienced a tremendous encounter with the priests of Baal, his life seems to be in danger, and he is afraid.
Sometimes it is hard for me to think about these heroes of the Bible also being normal folks, with all the emotions that come with everyday life. In some ways that is such an encouragement to me, that these “normal” people were able to do tremendous things with God’s direction. In some other ways it feels discouraging that Elijah had just experienced God is a mighty way, and that experience has faded quickly and now he is running for his life.
Do you resonate with the Elijah who has doubts and fears and concerns?
Are you a little disappointed that Elijah seemed to lose heart and faith in what could do?
What thoughts and feelings stir in you when you read this story?
Is Elijah’s reaction to his situation relatable to you, or does it cause you to scratch your head?
Maybe both, maybe neither?
Let’s talk about it on Sunday.