Elijah was discouraged, exhausted, spent. He had just come from a contest on Mt Carmel; a contest between Good and evil and Good won. Listen to his prayer, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
And what happened next? Let’s read on, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.”
What was the response? “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!'”
Then all the prophets of Baal were seized and taken down to the Brook Kishon and executed. This was their reward for a contest lost. They had spent the entire day trying to get their god, Baal, to answer by fire, but there was no response to their pleas. They shouted and danced and leaped about, cutting themselves until they were bloody.
Not a pretty sight, I am sure. But the God of heaven answered with fire and burned up the sacrifice and the people realized that the God of heaven had the power, not an idol. I am only hitting some of the highlights in this amazing story found in 1 Kings 19. God is so powerful and His hard-headed people were beginning to realize it. One would think this would have been a day for Elijah to bask in God’s glory, but he was too busy being afraid of Jezebel’s retaliation. She announced to the kingdom she would find him and kill him just like he killed her prophets of Baal.
With Queen Jezebel’s words ringing in his ears, Elijah took off running and ran all day until he could take cover in the wilderness. There he sat down under a tree and prayed to die. Suicidal prayers. Just like Moses before him, who became overwhelmed with the people of Israel and their constant complaining.
Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Suicidal thoughts take over. Does this story have a familiar ring to it in your life sometimes? Our problems and heavy burdens can lead to depression. We may have overwhelming sadness and all we can see is the bottom of the well where we find ourselves. It’s not so unlike the stories of Moses, Elijah and others in the Bible. They had struggles. And when they prayed to die, God did not answer their request. He knew His plan for them was better. He knows His plan for each of us is better. We ask and He answers in a way that benefits us in the long run. Sometimes we have to look back to see how He has led.
I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord who had led me on the right road. Genesis 24:48