In 1 Kings 17 the prophet Elijah bursts dramatically onto the scene of Israel’s history when the people are in a dreadful, backslidden condition, ruled by a carnal King and pagan Queen. He announced to King Ahab that there would be neither dew nor rain in Israel until he said so; then he disappeared [1 Kings 17-19].
After three long years of drought, Yahweh commissioned Elijah to issue a challenge to the priests of Baal [the Queen’s god]. Yahweh intended a public demonstration of His power to His people, Israel. The venue was Mount Carmel, a coastal mountain range bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The contest between Elijah, representing Yahweh, and the 450 prophets of Baal lasted all day. At the time of the evening sacrifice, in response to Elijah’s prayer, Yahweh sent fire from heaven to engulf a previously drenched altar and sacrifice, and consume the water in the surrounding trench [1 Kings 18]. The people worshipped Yahweh! Elijah demanded that all prophets of Baal be seized, taken to Kishon Brook, and killed there.
Elijah then went back up Mount Carmel to pray for rain. When dark clouds began to gather, he sent Ahab [by chariot] back to Jezreel [about 30 miles away] and then, incredibly, raced off, passing the chariot en route and arriving there first! What a day! He must have been settling in for a well-earned rest and meal when a vitriolic message arrived from an outraged Queen Jezebel, threatening to kill him immediately [1 Kings 19:2]. This heroic prophet, who had accomplished such extraordinary things, went into meltdown because of a furious woman, and ran for his life.
We find him, later, in the wilderness, feeling suicidal, and eventually, exhaustedly asleep. Subsequently, an angel twice woke him with food and drink, allowing him more rest before sending him on his way. Yahweh knew His servant had run from Jezebel because he was drained; his energy, vitality and virtue emptied out by the immensity of the day’s events. Yahweh knew that Elijah needed food and rest. Yahweh knows, too, when we are drained and exhausted by the struggles and demands of life. He knows there are times when the most spiritual thing we can do is go to bed. Let Him cosset you in His peace!
Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash