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Elijah Flees From Jezebel (1 Kings 18:41-19:21) January 21

With the storm to end the three-and-a-half-year drought approaching, Elijah, by the power of God, runs the 13 miles to Jezreel faster than Ahab's horse-drawn chariot.

In spite of the miraculous victory over Baal at Carmel, and the miracles that immediately followed, Jezebel's threat on Elijah's life is too much for him. Greatly distraught, he flees to the south, attempting to run away from the danger—his recently strengthened faith apparently evaporated. All of God's people are subject to such moments. As the apostle James wrote, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours" (James 5:17). Indeed, it is when we think we stand that we must take warning lest we fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). It should be noted that some mental depression that comes after a big crisis or challenge is usually partly physical in origin. The burst of physical and mental energy that comes with the high level of adrenaline released is often followed by a letdown when the adrenaline wears off.

In his rash flight, Elijah does not even stop in Judah, now ruled by righteous King Jehoshaphat. Instead, he flees far to the south, seeking refuge at Mount Sinai (Horeb), where God meets with him. God does not scold Elijah for his fear and self-pity. Instead, He comforts him. God lets Elijah know that he is not alone—that even if he is not aware of them, or has forgotten about them, there are others who have not followed Baal.

And to further help combat the depression, God gives Elijah three tasks to perform. (Staying busy in a productive manner often helps in such situations.) God tells him to appoint successors in various responsibilities. One such successor (Jehu) will wipe out all of Ahab's family, which by then will extend even into the kingdom of Judah. Another will change the leadership of Syria, Israel's chief enemy of that time. The third is to be Elijah's own successor, and the man who actually ends up performing the other two tasks.

Elisha's response is immediate and enthusiastic. "He arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant" (1 Kings 19:21)—working under Elijah like an apprentice.

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