“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers’.” (19:4)
Elijah can’t even anymore. He seems to have a righteous anger about how hopeless the situation is. Rightly so, the LORD just handedly won a stand off against the preferred god of His own people, and it’s somehow still not over.
I love how gentle the LORD is with him in this moment. He sees Elijah’s despair and makes him a cake. “Arise and eat, the journey is too great for you.” God knows he doesn’t have what it takes, so He supplies the power.
I am struck by the frailties of our humanity in these chapters. Even a great prophet like Elijah doesn’t have the perspective to know it isn’t over. But the LORD gently helps him find a refuge and provides a replacement. It’s beautiful, even, to remember the continuation of this story. That Elijah doesn’t ever die, the LORD takes Him up in a chariot. He loves Elijah.
Meanwhile, back in the valley, Elijah doesn’t know that, not only does the LORD have other prophets, but they’re hard at work (getting punched in the face and stuff) while Elijah rests and finds his replacement.
The war in chapter 20 is strange, because why would God give victory to this horrible Ahab person?? (So nice He didn’t give this assignment to poor Elijah). But the LORD’s motive becomes clear:
“And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” (20:28)
This isn’t about anyone besides Him and His Great Name. He will walk away from the battle having cleared some things up. Namely His unlimited jurisdiction.
If you are someone who truly wants to see the glory of the LORD fill the earth, and for all people to know Him, but you’re tired and discouraged, because people are the worst, ask for His strength and perspective today.