Everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of Scriptures, we might have hope.
It was a low point in Israel’s history. Ahab, the king was weak and Jezebel, his queen, was wicked, idolatrous and in charge. She busily imported priests of Baal from her home country while actively hunting down and eliminating all followers of Jehovah. It looked as if the true religion was on a pathway to extinction.
Then out of nowhere, without known history or lineage, Elijah came on the scene. He appeared before King Ahab with a message from the Lord: As judgment on the nation’s idolatry, there would be no precipitation until further notice.
After delivering his message, Elijah was instructed by God to hide. At the end of three-and-a half years, Elijah reappeared to find famine on a massive scale and a royal family still worshipping Baal. As directed by the Lord, Elijah proposed a winner-take-all contest between him and the priests of Baal-- with the royal family and the (currently) Baal-worshipping population of Israel as witnesses.
What happened next has my vote for the best story in the Old Testament and I can’t do it justice. If you have never read it or haven’t read it lately, go to 1 Kings 18:20-40 and enjoy it for yourself. Suffice it to say, Elijah won the contest in grand fashion, the people repented and God sent rain.
End of story? The plot twist that follows is truly surprising: Jezebel, after seeing God’s supernatural power up close and personal, responded by re-doubling her efforts to kill Elijah. And Elijah, through whom God had accomplished these miracles, runs for His life for fear of Jezebel, ending up a day’s journey into the desert, collapsed under a broom-tree, begging God to take his life.
The Bible tells us that Elijah was one of God’s greatest prophets. Woven through the biblical record of Elijah’s great faith and miracles, is the story of a man (James 5:17, 18) who experienced fear, exhaustion and depression. We, like Elijah, live in bodies vulnerable to physical and emotional stress. And we, also like Elijah, have short memories when it comes to God’s history of blessings and mercies in our life.
Let me share something with you that is worthy to be called the “Elijah principle,” but commonly goes by the handy acronym of HALT:
Never make a decision when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
Teach this to your family, share it with your friends and write it on your heart because the Bible is so right when it instructs us to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8