Friday | 14 June 2024
The failure of Elijah

As soon as it began to rain heavily in the land of Israel, King Ahab travelled in his chariot from Mount Carmel to Jezreel. Remarkably, the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah so that ‘he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel’. 1Ki 18:46. Having contended with ‘the footmen’ on Mount Carmel, Elijah was also enabled by the Lord to ‘run with horses’ and not grow weary. However, he had not yet learned to negotiate ‘the floodplain of the Jordan’. Jer 12:5.

We know that Elijah had not yet negotiated the floodplain of the Jordan because he was still fearful regarding his own life. When Ahab reported to Jezebel all that had happened, she vowed to kill Elijah. 1Ki 19:2. Even though he had just defeated all the prophets of Baal, Elijah was afraid of Jezebel and fled for his life. This is a stark reminder that it is possible to successfully fulfil the works that God has prepared for us to do on one day, and then to draw back in unbelief on the very next day. Elijah fled from the city of Jezreel all the way to Beersheba. Having left his servant in Beersheba, he went another day’s journey into the wilderness. 1Ki 19:3‑4.

Elijah sat down under a tree and prayed that he might die, because he considered that he was no better than his fathers. 1Ki 19:4. Evidently, Elijah had drawn back into unbelief. He made a judgement that his life was no longer worth living. If we do not continue to believe and obey the word that is proclaimed to us, we will make judgements about ourselves, and others, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of this judgement becomes ‘mind chatter’, which is the voice of the accuser of our brethren in our mind. It is important to understand that self‑deprecation, and judgement from the wrong tree, will never produce bankruptcy in spirit. This produces only condemnation.

Further Study:

1Ki 18:46
Then the hand of the LORD came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Jer 12:5
If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?

1Ki 19:2-4
Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’
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