In a land full of wickedness, where Ahab reigned with Queen Jezebel at his side, it had not rained in three and a half years. The prophet Elijah summoned 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah to meet him on Mount Carmel. There he challenged them to choose a bull, place it on the altar and call down fire from their gods. “The god who answers–he is God” (1 Kings 18:24).
After the evil prophets chose their bull and prepared their sacrifice, they prayed for fire from heaven. There was no answer. No fire. No display of power. Hours went by. They were crying out, screaming to their gods, even cutting themselves. Nothing.
Then, Elijah called the people together. He built an altar and placed the sacrifice on it. He prayed to God to answer by fire. “Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench” (1 Kings 18:38). God demolished the entire altar with an instant flash of lightning.
At this point, Elijah and his people gathered the 950 prophets and executed them. Following the mass execution, Elijah ran back to the palace. In fact, he outran all the king’s horses. But when he arrived, he found that Queen Jezebel was furious because of what happened at Mount Carmel and had ordered him executed just as her prophets had been. Elijah had just experienced a miraculous demonstration of God’s power, but listen to how he responded to the queen’s death sentence:
” . . . he arose and ran for his life . . . he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'” (1 Kings 19:3-4).
What discouragement! What despair!
If God could demonstrate his power in such a mighty way, could he not also protect Elijah? So why was he so discouraged? First of all, he was probably exhausted after building an altar, calling down fire from heaven, killing 950 prophets and outrunning the king and his chariots. Secondly, he listened to the threats of a person, rather than trusting God.
When you are down and discouraged, cry out to God. Ask his Holy Spirit to encourage and empower you. God will always be faithful. God…encourages those who are discouraged (2 Corinthians 7:6a).
Prayer: Father, like Elijah I am battle-worn, drained from daily activities, fatigued from fighting this fear. Allow me to rest in your presence, renewing my strength, reviving my faith. Let me not lose confidence in your mighty power.