After his dramatic victory over the prophets of Baal, Elijah declared an end to the drought and told Ahab to get ready for a meal, and then to go back to Samaria. Then Elijah went to the top of Carmel and began to pray. He told his servant to go check for a cloud. He sent him seven times and on the seventh time he told Elijah that there was a cloud about the size of a man’s hand. At the first sighting of the cloud, he sent the messenger to Ahab to tell him to go down from Carmel before the rain started. Within a very short time, the sky filled with black clouds and there was a heavy rain. Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. The hand of the Lord came upon Elijah and he “girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”
When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel all that Elijah had done to the prophets of Baal, and she vowed to kill him by the next day. Elijah ran for his life to Bersheba, and he left his servant there. He went further and sat down under a broom tree, praying that he might die. He fell asleep and later an angel woke him and offered him food to eat. After another nap, the angel woke him again, and he ate again and then went on the strength of that food for forty days and nights. He went into a cave and spent the night. The Lord came to him and asked what he was doing in the cave. Elijah replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
Here we see a picture of a mighty man of God who won a tremendous spiritual battle, and then ended a long drought that threatened to decimate a nation, all to then run away from a woman who threatened to kill him because he upset her apple cart in Israel. The swift descent from victory to despair finds Elijah in cave, hiding for his life. Elijah had prayed seven times for the drought to end (God’s number of completion), and then miraculously outran a chariot to Jezreel. He prayed down fire from heaven! How could he then run away and hide in a cave? Just call down more fire, or declare leprosy on Jezebel, or at least do something, man of God! However, even men of God are human, with frailty, fears, and confusion at times. How do we overcome these moments? Never stop listening for the voice of God. Even under the broom tree and in the cave, Elijah listened when God spoke. Even in the times when you don’t know what to do and your faith is tested, keep your spiritual ears open and listen for the voice of the Creator. As we will see in the next blog, he will always give you the answers and instructions you need!