Many of us are familiar with the story of the great Old Testament prophet, Elijah. Quite a man. He confronted the wicked Queen Jezebel many times – stood for God’s truth and authority at his own risk. Jezebel, with her husband, Ahab, were formidable, powerful, calculating adversaries. They struck terror into the hearts of their opponents. Her name is synonymous with treachery and deceit, even today.
Elijah was God’s kind of “man of faith” – bold, faithful, courageous, human…
Elijah and the prophets of Baal had a face-off on Mt. Carmel. God showed up in a powerful, miraculous way (Read I Kings 18) – one of my favorite Bible stories! All the evil manipulation, politics, personalities, power are no match for God as God revealed Himself as the One True God. God’s victory was manifest that day in a spectacular way.
Right after God had used him to trounce the evil prophets, Jezebel threatens, as she was want to do! Elijah became afraid. From our vantage today – since we know the “rest of the story” we can be cynical of Elijah’s weakness and easily ask, “But why fear, Elijah. You just participated in a great victory. God showed up. He will again.” Think about it…he was human. What would you do? He was exhausted. He was spent in ministry for God. There was a bullseye on his back. He was afraid of Jezebel and he ran.
I am sure I would have too. Probably from your own experience you know we don’t usually go from mountaintop to mountaintop. From my father’s front porch you can see several ranges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It looks like it is all mountaintop – what we can’t see are the many valleys in between.
On that morning, Elijah couldn’t either. He was vulnerable. Did God criticize him? Condemn him? Reject him? No. God came to him.
God recently showed me in this passage that God came to Elijah while Elijah was sleeping, resting. Too many of us think we have to work nonstop for God. The busier we are the more value we have. The dark circles under our eyes are badges of courage. Folks, there is no crown laid up for exhaustion.
If we take time to rest we won’t miss God. He won’t forget us. He’ll come get us!
Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest…” That’s a command. He doesn’t condemn rest – far from it. He provides it.