From the peak to the pit - Hope 103.2

From the peak to the pit

By David ReayThursday 16 Jun 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 1 Kings 19:1-9

1 When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”

3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. 4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. (NLT)

Life can be bittersweet. Our mountain tops can be followed by dark valleys. One threat is overcome and another may take its place. Elijah had just won a spectacular victory over the pagan prophets on Mount Carmel. We may expect him to savour the success and rejoice in the Lord.

What we find instead is a despondent prophet slinking off into the desert wanting to die. The reality of Mount Carmel has been superseded by the reality of Jezebel. What God had done in the past was overwhelmed by what Jezebel might do in the future. Elijah, like us, needed to realise that victory in one battle doesn’t mean there won’t be more battles.

It is interesting that God provided help not in the form of a pep talk but in the form of food and drink. Sometimes our most immediate needs in times of despondency are adequate food intake and rest. God’s help, at times, is not remotely ‘spiritual’. And Elijah is sustained and later on receives refreshment from God in the form of an assurance of his presence.

Our God is one who can act with dramatic power or in gentle whispers. He can invite us to feed our bodies as well as our spirits. Our lives are not constant. We can go from the pit to the peak and vice versa with bewildering speed. Our one assurance is that the God who was so evidently real at the peak is also just as real in the pit.

David Reay