I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
1 Kings 19:1-5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Elijah Flees from Jezebel
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.”
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
In today’s scripture the prophet Elijah is looking for God. Well, actually, he’s mostly running away from his problems. Elijah’s nickname is “the stormy prophet” and it is an appropriate nickname! Elijah has just been through a long series of very traumatic and difficult events. Elijah appeared suddenly on the scene and confronted Ahab and Jezebel, the king and the queen, with their unfaithfulness. That led to another violent confrontation with the prophets of the pagan god Baal and a demonstration of the power of God, but not everyone was convinced to turn and follow the Lord. In fact, Jezebel vowed, if it was the last thing she did, she would kill him and so Elijah fled for his life. He found himself in the wilderness, alone; frustrated; disappointed; exhausted; depressed; feeling as if no one was on his side; wanting just to curl up and escape in sleep. In fact, he even wanted to die. He said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
Elijah was discouraged! He felt lost. Elijah—that fiery, stormy prophet—after all the experiences of God’s grace and provision for him ran for his life and ended up in the wilderness feeling lost and alone. How could that be? Well, for one thing, Elijah was human. He was exhausted. He had hoped everything would be fixed, would be behind him. But, of course, there are seldom permanent victories. Most of the time, other problems arise that must be overcome—just to maintain what was gained in previous success. Elijah, to put it another way, was “burned out” and he was discouraged and he was feeling lost.
Elijah’s experience is part of our common human condition. Sometimes we feel lost. That feeling for Elijah came after
- a time of intense and productive activity
- relational conflict
- physical exhaustion
- a major success
- and a huge disappointment.
When the text says Elijah “got up and fled for his life,” some commentators believe the meaning of the Hebrew is more accurately “he got up and went for his soul.” He was fleeing Jezebel, but he also going for his soul. He found nourishment for his body and soul and made his way to Mount Horeb where he eventually heard the “still small voice” of God speaking to him, comforting him, encouraging him, and prodding him on to reengage with life.
Have you had the experience of feeling burned out and just tired? The story of Elijah can be our story, in a way. God is present with us even in those difficult times to nourish our souls and remind us that we are not alone.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster