1 Kings 19:3-5 (NIV)

3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it, and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”


We all need encouragement sometimes. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve walked with the Lord or what He’s done in and through us, we need an encouraging word. Let’s look at the case of Elijah the Tishbite.

Elijah had such a strong anointing that he was able to stop it from raining by his word (1 Kings 17:1). His faith was so great that he did what God told him to do without question. When God told him to hide in the Kerith Ravine and that ravens were going to supply him with food, he believed God and went and hid at the Ravine. Ravens brought Elijah food every morning and evening (1 Kings 17:2-6). When the brook that was supplying him water dried up, the Lord told him to go to Zarephath, to a widow there, who the Lord had directed to supply Elijah with food (1 Kings 17:7-9). and Elijah went! (1 Kings 17:10)

You might be thinking to yourself that a man who had gone, at the direction of the Lord, to live at a brook and be fed by the birds, surely would go someplace else and let a human supply his needs, right? Well, the land of Zarephath, in the region of Sidon was a place of gentiles. Anyone who isn’t Jewish is a Gentile. In Elijah’s time, God had been very clear that His chosen people, The Israelites, were not only to not associate with gentiles, because they worshiped other gods and would corrupt the Jews with their practices. Furthermore, each day, a Jewish rabbi, such as Elijah, would wake up and pray, “Thank you God that I was not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman. I can’t imagine what went through Elijah’s mind at the time. All that we know from the text is that Elijah did exactly what God told him to do (1 Kings 17:10). Elijah was the first missionary sent to a foreign people. That took faith.

When the widow’s son died, Elijah did something else in faith that had never been done before in the Bible. He prayed and asked God to bring the woman’s son back to life (1 Kings 17:20-23). It might not seem like a big deal to us today. We know that God heals the sick and raises the dead. A large part of our faith is based on what know God has done in the past. It’s one way we get encouragement. I can say, “I may sick, right now, but God has healed me before, He can do it again.” It’s one reason that Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, was made mute by the angel Gabriel when he asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this?” (Luke 1:18-20) Zechariah knew of his forefather Abraham and how he was an old man with a wife who, in the natural, couldn’t bear children and yet, because of the promise of God, they had Isaac. And there were many other cases afterward of God bringing healing to barren couples. Zechariah doubted. Elijah, however, believed that God could do anything so he asked for the widow’s son’s life to be restored and God did it.

There’s no doubt that Elijah had a rock-solid faith in God. By the time we see Elijah here, afraid and running for his life, he had seen God do so much. However, Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife, told him that she was going to kill him so he ran in fear. (1 Kings 19:2-3). We can see that Elijah was a man of great faith. I believe that Elijah also had humility. We know that God opposes the proud but shows grace to the humble (James 4:6). In his prayer to the Lord, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV), I see the force of humility at work. Elijah knew, just as we know, that the things that God had him do had never been done before. The greatest prophet before Elijah had been Moses. I can see Elijah hoping that God would use him like Moses and then, when he became afraid and ran, thinking that he “was no better than his ancestors” who had rejected the covenant and torn down God’s altars. This experience, of running away in fear, would have been even more humbling to Elijah if he had wanted to be the next Moses. Regardless of whether or not Elijah desired to be the next Moses, he couldn’t have done what God had asked him to do without humility.

God encourages Elijah in three ways.

  1. He meets him where he’s at, in the wilderness. Previously, God had always told Elijah to go here or there and Elijah went. In this time, when Elijah was exhausted and at the end of his rope, the Lord sends an angel to feed him to give him the strength to continue.
  2. God reminds Elijah of what He has done and how Elijah has served Him. The Lord asks Elijah twice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9,13). God does nothing without a reason. We know that God knows all things and so did Elijah. Therefore, when God asked him, “What are you doing here?” I believe the question is a means of bringing remembrance to Elijah of what the Lord had done and who He did it through. I’m reminded of Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him in the book of John (21:15-19).
  3. The presence of the Lord comes to Elijah. Whenever Elijah had previously heard from the Lord it is described as “The word of the Lord, The Lord said, etc.” However, after the wind, earthquake, and fire there is a gentle whisper and it is a voice that asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)

God speaks to us in many ways. He wants us to be encouraged. He doesn’t want us to give up. God could have taken Elijah when he asked to die. Even though Elijah had given up on himself, God didn’t give up on him. He still had work that only Elijah could do. Allow me to encourage you today. God sees you. He knows that you’re tired. He knows that you are walking through this dark world, but you are not alone. He wants you to be refreshed. He has a job for you to do. Otherwise, He’d bring you Home, but right now. Just stop, sit for a moment and listen to his gentle whisper, “I love you, I am with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are mine and I am yours.”

Do you know God? He loves you. He wants you to know Him. He already knows you and He would rather die than not have you in His family. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.