“But I your servant have feared the LORD from my youth. Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the LORD, how I hid one hundred men of the LORD’s prophets.... And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here.”’ He will kill me!” Then Elijah said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.” —1 Kings 18:12b-15
It was a moment of great victory. Elijah had just stood on Mount Carmel with 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah, watching God rain down fire in what had to be an incredibly dramatic fashion. He then prayed seven times and saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand break a three year drought. Afterwards, he tucked his cloak into his belt and ran with superhuman strength fast enough to overtake Ahab’s horses.
What a day! And yet with Elijah’s impossible victories in 1 Kings 18, the next chapter reveals that he sat down under a broom tree and asked God to kill him. Depressed, exhausted, and intimidated by how his exploits might backfire in the face of his enemies, he prayed twice: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (vs. 10, 14).
The Lord is so good, dispatching an angel that “comes at once” to touch Elijah and feed him during his time of great need. Elijah eats the food and lies down again, still overcome by despair. With the Lord’s gracious understanding of human frailty, He dispatches the angel a second time. Again, the angel comforts and feeds Elijah, this time announcing why: “For your journey is too much for you,” he says.
After this encounter, Elijah travels non-stop for 40 days and nights. His journey into the wilderness culminates when the word of the Lord comes to Elijah who obeys with fully strengthened zeal. The Lord patiently rejuvenates Elijah’s resilience and calling.
As intercessors, we can learn from Elijah’s life that there is often an attack at the point of great victory. It could be a personal attack. It may even drive us to the point where we don’t want to live. It’s at those times that we can ask the Lord to meet us, touch us, and nourish our bodies. Then we will be able to continue to ask the Lord to restore His morals in our country, energize His Church, and raise up those who will speak for Him.