God reminded me last week that Elijah had done a 40 day fast (1 Kings 19). This fast was really precipitated by self pity and fear resulting from Jezebel’s threat to kill him in retaliation for killing 400 of her prophets. Believe you me, a threat, indirect or implied, can cause the strongest saint to falter. Self pity is one of the pitfalls of the prophetic ministry. The prophet is usually so engrossed with the things of the Lord, almost to the exclusion of a normal life, that the sins of the flesh are not usually a problem. It is the self pity that results from loneliness, persecution, lack of all kinds, anger at the saints’ hypocrisy etc that can get one’s goat.
Elijah went into a state of depression, manifesting the symptoms of isolation (1 Kings 19: 3):
- hiding in the wilderness (v 3),
- self pity (v 4),
- sleepiness (v 5). I believe that he would have slept forever if the Lord had not pitied him.
The Lord is extremely concerned about the health and well being of His prophets. God sent angels’ food for His servant. This was food that had come directly from heaven. God in His humor, showed Elijah that it was in the process of being cooked and not ready made, like the manna the Israelites ate in the wilderness. That was how special this man was. Furthermore, think of how many fires the poor angels would have had to make on a daily basis for the ungrateful children of Israel.
Anyway, the divine meal (fellowship with God) of bread revived him because Jesus is the bread of Life and the water represented Jesus the water of Life and the water of the Holy Spirit:
- The first meal was to prevent Elijah from dying and the second was to prepare him for a long 40 day journey, actually a marathon.
- The divine meal broke the yoke of depression from the man of God and gave him a divine strength/enablement that caused him to walk for 40 days to the mount Horeb where God had revealed Himself to Abraham as Jehovah Jireh.
Elijah was apparently awed by the fact that God had sent angels to feed him because he went to the place where He could meet God. Is this our response in times of trouble. He retreated into his modus operandi:
- going into a cave
- a hole
- another hiding place.
He then received a theophany of the Lord, (angels’ food will bring you to that place) because God called out in astonishment, asking him what he was doing in Horeb? He had come to the place, the mount of God, because He knew where his help lay as in Ps 121. Notice that Elijah’s complaint related to the prophetic ministry which had overwhelmed him (1 Kings 19: 10). God revealed Himself to His servant in stillness and gave his servant a word.
This is why He takes us away to Himself out of the normal and busy routines of confrontations with the devil into places of quietness. Prophets do need breaks from the normal routine, or the ministry could break you. God also gave him an extra bonus by giving him support in the form of Elisha, who ministered to him, or became his junior minister, if you please. I will tell you an angel story next time. Bye for now