1 Kings 19:5-8
This study has helped me see a theme in Elijah’s story that I’d never picked up on before.
Elijah and God have this provision/trust thing that keeps cropping up. It seems that for Elijah God wants to continue to provide for him the assurance of His provision. He keeps feeding him. And all three of these times, in intensely meaningful ways. Through ravens, through empty flour and oil jars, through his most desperate discouragement, God brings Elijah sustainment of the most basic of needs…his appetite.
Elijah runs into the wilderness. He throws himself under a juniper tree. And he sleeps. Next thing he knows, an angel is gently waking him. He speaks two words to Elijah. “Arise, eat.” Elijah eats the meal the angel prepared for him and falls to sleep again. He’s exhausted from life’s hard work.
Again, the angel comes to him and shows compassion. This time he says, “Arise, eat, for the journey is too great for you.” He doesn’t scold Elijah for his discouragement. He doesn’t tell Elijah to pull himself up by his sandal straps and get going. Instead the angel of God shows Elijah kindness and compassion by meeting his basic needs.
When we are in our places of deepest discouragement often what we most need is for someone to come along our side and say, “man, that’s hard.” We don’t need advice or tips, we need empathy. That is what the angel provided for Elijah.
And that food that Elijah was fed? It sustained him for 40 days. He went to Mount Horeb for 40 days. It doesn’t say what he did for all that time but from his first feeding at the Brook by Cherith to this one at Mt. Horeb, it’s roughly 200 miles. I find these facts fascinating. It was a lot of hard work for Elijah just getting where he was going when the Spirit wasn’t just moving him from one place to the next. He walked all that way.
Finally, I want us to consider the importance of these 40 days for Elijah. I know it’s not possible for me in my present situation, and you might feel the same as I do, but maybe God is calling you to a time of rest. You may not be able to swing 40 days wandering the wilderness. And maybe Elijah felt like that time was ANYTHING but rest. But I think we can be assured with the history of Elijah up until now that it was 40 days spent seeking the Lord.
With big changes on the horizon for the Lempola family, maybe it’s time I do the same.
It’s not lost on me that God first comforts Elijah with food to eat and sleep. How are you malnourished in your basic needs of diet and rest?
Even amidst the craziness your life holds right now, how can you take time to rest?
How’s your prayer life? Is there a way to build in time to meet with God in prayer?