1 Kings 19:1 “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.”
King Ahab comes rushing into the palace soaking wet. It’s raining in Israel for the first time in three and a half years. Ahab tells his wife, Queen Jezebel, everything Elijah has done. Actually he tells her everything the Lord has done through Elijah. He tells her about the showdown on Mt Carmel between the prophets of Baal and the God of Israel. He tells her how the prophets of Baal prayed and shouted, cut themselves and danced around the altar from sunrise ‘til sunset and nothing happened.
Then Elijah poured twelve huge jugs of water on his altar, called out just once to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel and fire fell from heaven totally consuming the sacrifice and the altar. He tells Jezebel that when the people saw the fire, they fell to the ground and started shouting, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Then, on Elijah’s orders, the people seized the prophets of Baal and killed them with swords. By now, Jezebel and Ahab should both know who the real God is. They both know what the God of Israel can do.
Once the Lord has gotten our attention, once we become aware of who God really is, what He can do, what He requires from us and what He’s offering to us, we each have to decide for ourselves what we’re going to do about it; what we’re going to do about Him and our relationship with Him.
Once we’ve been confronted with undeniable, indisputable truth about how holy and mighty the Lord our God is and how completely helpless and sinful we are, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to love Him, worship Him, serve Him and start living for Him or will we continue to ignore Him, stubbornly defy Him and keep trying to run away from Him?
1 Kings 19:2 “So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.’”
Obviously, Jezebel still doesn’t get it. She’s still refusing to accept it. Instead of acknowledging the sovereignty of God and giving Him control of her life, Jezebel decides to do unto Elijah what Elijah had done unto her prophets. She makes it her life’s mission to destroy him.
1 Kings 19:3-4a Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert.”
He may have been able to make the fire fall, he may have been able to hear it raining before anyone got wet. He knows better than anyone else what the God of Israel can do but, right now, Elijah is afraid. The Bible says Elijah was just like us. So, like us, He ran for his life. He left home and went to Judah.
Judah is a different country. Israel is a divided nation. Elijah had been living in Samaria. Samaria is the capital of what’s called the Kingdom of the North,” Judah is known as “the Kingdom of the South” and Jerusalem is the capital city. Ahab is not the king of Judah. Elijah ran off to Judah but he made his servant stay back in the city of Beersheba. Then he travels a whole day into the desert and doesn’t take his servant with him.
Why did Elijah do that? His servant was with him when the fire fell on Mt Carmel. His servant was the one who kept looking on the horizon for signs of rain. He was much more than just a servant. He was the closest thing to a friend that Elijah had.
Why do we do that? Why do we push people away and shut people out when we need them the most? Why do we close ourselves off from people who care about us and are trying to help us? Why do we act like we don’t need anybody and we don’t want help? Why won’t we let those who love us get near us when we’re hurting inside? Sometimes we’re not happy unless we’re miserable.
Pride doesn’t want to be cheered up. Pride always tries to look happy. Pride refuses to ask for and pride refuses to accept help from anybody. Pride neve admits it needs anything. Pride prefers to be miserable all by itself. Pride loves to think of itself as the victim.
1 Kings 19:4b “He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life: I am no better than my ancestors’”
Elijah sits down under a “Broom Tree,” actually a Juniper tree, and he ask the Lord to let him die. Today, Elijah would have locked himself in his trailer, turned off his cell phone, refused to answer the door, stayed in his pajamas staring at a flat screen TV with a couple boxes of pizza, a gallon of ice cream and a large bag of Doritos in his lap not really caring if he lived or died.
Some of us are like Jezebel, refusing to surrender, refusing to bow down. But some of us are like Elijah, pushing ourselves away from the people who love us and are praying for us. We sit in a lump sounding just like Elijah.
We’ll let him sit there and whine for a while and, Lord willing we’ll pick it up from here next week. Thanks again for getting into God’s word with Pastor Buj.