“Then [Elijah] was afraid… and ran for his life to Beersheba… and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness… and asked that he might die…And behold an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water… And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is to great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” – 1 Kings 19: 3-8
We often focus on how God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice but we often neglect the journey and preparation preceding him hearing and meeting with God.
Here are some important preparatory steps Elijah went through beforehand:
- 1.Our first response to fear and intimidation should always be to return back to God’s covenant and promise
“and [Elijah] ran for his life to Beersheba.” Beersheba’s name literally means ‘well of the oath.’ Historically Beersheba represented a place of remembering God’s faithfulness in covenant and word. What promises and covenants has God given you? Furthermore have you strengthened yourself by returning back to these words of hope and security during times of fear and anxiety?
- 2.Moving towards God often means moving away from our current security
“[Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness.” This almost seems contradictory to our previous step but its actually complimentary. Many of us have experienced homesickness upon first leaving our parent’s home only to have challenges with finances, jobs, school or relationships overwhelm us. Even though temporarily returning back home (our Beersheba) can bring comfort, we will never truly mature unless we once again leave home (our comfort zones) and move forward. God allows us to occasionally return to places of comfort and familiarity but these times are almost always temporary to prepare us for the true destination and more importantly the journey in-between.
- 3.God is met when we stop relying on our own ingenuity and wisdom and begin relying on His divine provisions and strength
“Arise and eat, for the journey is to great for you.” Even though never directly implied in the passage, it would be easy to surmise Elijah settling on a one-day journey into the wilderness since it was a reasonable and humanly possible distance. Rather than God accepting this as a permissible location to meet, God instead sends Elijah forty days further into the wilderness. God meets us in the place where we’ve been stripped of any reliance on our own abilities and strength.
- 4.God’s ways of provisions and His subsequent requests can oftentimes seem illogical
“and [Elijah] arose… and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” Even though divinely provided, the energy from two cakes and two jars of water should have never lasted Elijah for forty days. It is only upon us accepting that God’s ways are truly higher than ours that we can begin to be lead and prepared to be brought face to face with God and the destination He has for us. Sometimes the illogical route is the divinely ordained way.
Be blessed my friend,