Elijah showed he was a man of great faith when he challenged the wicked king Ahab on Mount Carmel. Fire miraculously burnt up his offering and 450 prophets of Baal were killed. Then three and a half years of drought came to an end in dramatic fashion. But after that Elijah had a collapse of faith. Could it be that, after the remarkable climax of events on Mount Carmel, he thought everything was going to be easier now and his intense of faith in God while on the mount relaxed? But it was not going to be easier. In today’s chapter (1 Kings 19) Jezebel declares her intention to kill him because he had caused the death of her 450 prophets. Elijah’s confidence in serving God suddenly collapses and he runs for his life. Is this a lesson for us, to a much lesser degree?
He says to God, “It is enough now O LORD, take away my life for I am no better than my fathers” (verse 14). But in the end he finds God in a more personal way than ever before. First, food is miraculously provided and after 40 days (the same period that Moses spent on the mountain with God), Elijah comes to “Horeb, the mount of God” (verse 8), where Moses had received the law.
He lodges in a cave (verse 9) and hears a voice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” and he experiences the awesome power of God. He thinks he is the only faithful person left in Israel and is told there are 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed the knee to worship Baal (verse 18). As he hides in the cave there is a strong wind, strong enough to break the rocks, then an earthquake and then a fire! Awesome! It is like God’s judgements on the world at the end of this age when Jesus is about to return. We must each ask ourselves, ‘What am I doing here?’ Surely there is some work still to be done for the Lord.