That time when Elijah had a breakdown and God made him rest

My small group of women are doing the Emotionally Healthy Woman study (which is fantastic btw) and last night Geri Scazzero was talking about faulty thinking. And she referred to the passage in 1 Kings 19 where Elijah finds out that Jezebel has vowed to kill him. (After he slew 500 Baal prophets).

And Elijah runs away and cries put to God

Take me now, Lord. They have killed all your prophets, destroyed your altars and I alone am left – and they seek my life!

And the story seems really odd. Like why did Elijah have no fear going up against hundreds of Baal prophets. He never doubted that God would do as he prayed.

And he wasn’t afraid of the king’s wrath at all.

It was Jezebel, a woman.

She vows to take his life and he runs away.

And we wonder what happened to his faith?

But does God scorn him for his lack of faith?

No, in fact it is the opposite!

He sends him to shelter. And he has him rest. Like sleep and sleep. So that an angel has to wake him up and give him food.

And the angel doesn’t just give him bread. The angel gives him cake!!

And he sleeps more. He sleeps and sleeps. And again, the angel has to wake him up to give him more cake and water.

And whatever is in this cake from the angel, it is enough to sustain him for 40 days and 40 nights as he walks to mount Horem where God is.

I really could use some of that cake!

A cake baked on a hot stone and a jar of water.

I checked this verse in multiple translations and they all say cake. I even tried to look it up in my key word study Bible, but it wasn’t listed.

The angel says to Elijah

Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.

Words of tender compassion from an angel.

And it is sustenance for 40 days and 40 nights.

And when he arrives at the mount,

1 Kings 19:9-14 There he went into a cave and spent the night.And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

I alone am left.

Have you ever felt that way?

But God corrects Elijah,

1 Kings 19:18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

7000 men who still serve God. That’s hardly alone.

Elijah was so zealous for the cause. The Hebrew word qana implies a very strong emotion in which a person is desirous of some aspect.

I think we would say that Elijah was so passionate for the purposes of God. He felt so burdened that His people had rejected the one true All-powerful God. He felt compelled to demonstrate God’s power to them and how foolish their obsession with Baal was. He had such great conviction.

Yet once his treat powerful demonstration was over, I think he just felt that it was all for naught. If there were no other prophets or altars to keep reminding the people, then what was the point?

I think he felt he won the battle but the the war was lost.

And I think he was just spent.

He had gone all out for God and now he was done.

And when you are in that place, even the smallest thing can seem insurmountable.

And Jezebel had vowed to kill him.

That was the thing that broke him.

How awesome is it to know that when we are in that place, just too tired, our compassionate God wants us to fully rest?! That he sees us with so much compassion and wants to give us rest.

This was nourishment for my soul this week.

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One thought on “That time when Elijah had a breakdown and God made him rest

  1. Pingback: Nothing (Five Minute Friday) | Belle Faith

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