DEVOTIONAL – MAY 26
Leslie M. John
Elijah was a very dramatic prophet when the LORD’s spirit was on him; otherwise he was just as any one of us. There was a time when Elijah prayed and invoked fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice he placed on the altar while his contestants (four hundred and fifty of them, who worshipped Baal) could not invoke their gods to come and consume the sacrifice which they placed on the altar. Elijah was somewhat sarcastic also when they could not invoke their gods to consume their sacrifices.
A great prophet of God as he was, yet Elijah was once terrified at a woman’s threat. The woman was Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, who threatened that she would kill him by the next day at the same time after Elijah killed four hundred prophets of Baal. Elijah went to Beersheba which was in the territory of Judah and there he sat under a juniper tree. He was disappointed and crying to himself that he might die and said to the Lord, “It is enough: now, O LORD, take away my life…”
An angel of the Lord came touched him and comforted him saying “Arise and eat”. He looked around and saw a cake baked and a cruse of water. He ate and drank and lay again disappointed. The angel came again and touched him and said again to eat and drink because the journey was too great for him. He ate and drank and received strength that was enough for him to journey for forty days and forty nights unto “Horeb” the mount of God.
Elijah went and hid in a cave and there he heard the word of the LORD saying “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Elijah said that he was the only one in Israel who was so zealous for the LORD who never bowed to Baal. The LORD saw great work in Elijah and yet He found him trying to call it quits from His work, and, therefore, said to him to go and stand upon the mount before the LORD.
A great and strong wind rent the mountain and it broke the rocks into pieces as the LORD passed by but He was not in it. Then there was an earthquake but the LORD was not there in it. After these, there was a fire but the LORD was not in it, but after the fire there was a still small voice and Elijah heard it. Elijah soon covered his face in his mantle and went out of the cave and stood at its entrance. The small still voice gently asked Elijah the same question second time “What doest thou here, Elijah”.
Elijah said to the LORD that he was the only one who was so zealous for the LORD. Then, the LORD said to Elijah to go to wilderness of Damascus where he will see Hazael and Jehu. The LORD commanded Elijah to anoint Hazael to be the king over Syria and Jehu to be the king over Israel. Then, the LORD gives an important command to him and that was to commission Elishah in his place. The LORD, then, said to him that He reserved for Himself seven thousand men, who did not bow their knees to Baal.
Elijah departed from the cave and found Elisha who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him and he was plowing with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him. Note the excuse Elisha finds as he leaves his oxen and runs after Elijah and says to him…
“…Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?” (1 Kings 19:20)
Of course, Elijah permitted Elisha to have his desire fulfilled. Elisha went home and came back after honoring his parents and then took a yoke of oxen and killed then oxen and boiled their flesh and gave it to the people. They all ate it and he arose and followed Elijah and ministered unto him until Elisha finally took over from him.
Elijah was a great prophet and yet he thought he was the only one in Israel to serve the LORD but the LORD had already reserved seven thousand for Himself. Elisha delayed to follow Elijah on reasons that could have been avoided. The call from God is very important and urgent. There is immense blessing in following Him without putting forwarding excuses.
When Jesus said to Simon Peter and Andrew his brother to follow Him “…they straightway left their nets, and followed him”. (Matthew 4:20)