1 kgs. 19,1-18 'What To Do When..In a Crisis'
Working with the text
1 Kings 19:1-18 NIV
Elijah Flees to Horeb
19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 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.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. 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.” 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 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?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken 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.”
11 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. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 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?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken 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.”
15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”
Reading the text: thoughts and reflections
It seems strange that Elijah would run after just proving how powerful God is but Jezebel’s death threat sends him into a crisis of faith. Running may not always be the best option in a crisis but in this case there was a divine purpose. It is good to note that the Lord didn’t prevent Elijah from hightailing it. He allows he to go on this journey which really ends of being a journey of rediscovery, trust, and faith.
God even provided for the long journey. It is significant that he came to Mt. Sinai to have a “reconnection” with God. It’s a holy place…a holy mountain! The cave that he stays the night in I think is representative of the solitude we seek with God in his holy place. There are moments where we need to spend time alone in the “cave” where there is no one but you and God.
When God speaks, he gives kind of an object lesson for Elijah. The powerful winds, earthquake, and fire represent the torments and trials of life and when they’re over, that lingering silence that remains is where we can really discern the presence and direction of God.
Context & historical background
Relevant Bible references
Exodus 14:13-14 NIV
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
What is the main point?
Current/local issues (from news and other sources)
May be appropriate during certain crises / gain perspective or obtain safety / Elijah faced imminent death: like you and I, it was a cause for great fear…even despair
he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. 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.” 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
Ever sound like you? / had enough? / check me out Lord…I’m done / a crisis will always reveal the limits of our human resources and potential / when we reach that point, there is a yearning for the divine
Remarkable that Elijah would reach this point after displaying the power of God just a short while ago / [explain what happened in 1 Kings 18] / Jezebel’s death sentence melted away his heart / wasn’t the killing of the pagan prophets supposed to put the fear of God in her? / apparently not…at least not yet
Elijah ran / his running though wasn’t random and he knew where he’s going / running to vs. running from / despite the crisis and the lament: Elijah gives us a clue that his trust in still completely in the Lord…v. 5
Psalm 3:5 NIV
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
Running, though may not be an option for every crises / relationship with the Lord critical before those times come
[illustration: Todd Beamer….let’s roll]
Some 45-50 days (including 40 days and nights going through the desert) and over 300 miles later, Elijah finds himself in a cave at one of the most holy sites in the Bible: Horeb or Mt. Sinai where Moses received the 10 commandments
Alone…with God / the object lesson: wind, earthquakes, fires…torments and trials of life / stun, capture us, awe, frighten us / yet these don’t last and when the silence comes we can hear the gentle voice…whisper of God / the voice that refreshes, renews….and restores
Holy place…a word from the Lord…seek the church when you don’t what to do
The church: not always in agreement, not always getting along, but it is in the sanctuary of Christ that we find restoration and safety in our numbers
15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came,
It seems inconceivable to go back and face the crisis we left / but at times we must / Elijah’s return was part of God’s mission / when you’ve been spiritually restored and given a mission from God, it’s amazing how the
[illustration: facing the death of my father…going back to my childhood to bring light and restoration to those very dark areas of my life]
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.