1 Kings 19:1-21 slowly and repeatedly.
Main content of the text: Elijah, threatened with death by Jezebel, flees to Beersheba. After God takes care of Elijah, who is exhausted, he leads him to Mount Horeb and gives him another mission with a still small voice.
Verses 1-4 God breaks Elijah’s self-centeredness. Elijah, who thought that the victory in the Battle of Mount Carmel would bring all the evil forces in Northern Israel to their knees, excitedly ran to Jezreel (Ahab and Jezebel’s summer palace) (18:44). However, he only sees Jezebel’s imperturbable appearance as she goes on a rampage to kill Elijah. Suddenly swallowed up by anxiety and despair, Elijah escapes from Northern Israel and hides in Beersheba, the southern border of Southern Judah. Elijah was intoxicated with his sense of self-accomplishment as ‘the greatest prophet in history’, but now he despises himself as ‘no better than his ancestors’ and seeks to die under a rye tree. He has forgotten that he is called to obedience, not to success.
Verse 5-8 God gently persuades Elijah, who runs away to the other side of the mission road and behaves like Jonah, wishing to die under a gourd vine, just as he did Jonah. To Elijah, who was trying to end his mission, saying, “I have enough,” God gave him “plenty” food and gave him the energy to move on to a new mission. Then, God leads them to Mount Horeb, where Moses stayed for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18), and reminds them that he must lead the people again like Moses. Even in my life full of complaints and doubts, God has been guiding me through persistent admonishment and persuasion.
Verses 9-14 God does not reprimand Elijah for forgetting God’s great victory and selectively remembering bad situations and hiding in a cave, but speaks gently. He comes not as wind, earthquake, or fire, but as a ‘small voice.’ God has no intention of giving up on Elijah, who “covers his face with his robe” and rebels before God until the end. It is time for us to come out of the cave.
Verses 13-21 God corrects Elijah’s self-centered misunderstanding that ‘I am the only one left with special zeal.’ God’s work was not accomplished by Elijah alone. God will judge Northern Israel through Hazael and Jehu, whom Elijah anoints. Additionally, seven thousand fellow workers and successor Elisha will be with Elijah. So, instead of thinking that we are alone, let us answer the Lord, “I am here too.”
Community Prayer – Lord, please raise me up when I am discouraged and fall, and make me a person who reaches out to my community
Prayer for the Nations – In Algeria, 8,985 prisoners, including Christians, were pardoned. Let us pray that the Christians who are still innocently detained will be released and that the day will soon come when they can worship freely in Algeria.