God knows that all the running has made Elijah tired. God knows that more than being physically tired, Elijah is emotionally tired and carrying a tremendous load of guilt. Like Jesus would do for the paralytic so many years later, God wipes the slate clean and provides rest for Elijah. Finally, he can really sleep and be refreshed.
We would expect this to be the end of the story, but it isn’t. God’s rest is not a one-time event. Entering into God’s rest has to do with healing — with slowly unlearning negative thought patterns and destructive habits. God does not rush healing.
Read 1 Kings 19:5-8. Where is Elijah going now, and why?
After rest, Elijah is running again. But this time God reorients his running. God understands that life in this sinful world can and will cause depression. He understands our impulse to run, but He wants to redirect our running. Instead of all the self-destructive coping mechanisms we try, He wants us to run to Him. And once we start running to Him, He wants to teach us to listen for the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) that will give us rest.
Elijah had no energy to lift himself up and make the journey to meet God. God provides the energy for the meeting, and God promises a better tomorrow.
As Elijah lay under his broom tree and wished to die, he believed that his best days were over.
Read 1 Kings 19.15-16 and 2 Kings 2:11. What was still in store for Elijah?
God knew that better days lay ahead for Elijah. Healing would come for the prophet as he would learn to regulate his life by God’s rhythms and accept His rest. There were still kings to be anointed and a successor to be chosen. God already knew about Elisha, who would become as close as a son to Elijah. God knew that in faith Elijah would again call down fire from heaven (2 Kings 1:10). For Elijah, there would be no desperate death under a broom tree but rather a fiery chariot ride to heavenly rest.
|What can we learn from the story of Elijah about why, no matter how bad we feel, in God’s strength we must still seek not to give up?|