Elijah was one of the greatest prophets of old. He called on God to send fire from Heaven to consume a burnt sacrifice in a bid to turn the heart of God’s people back to Him after they had strayed to idolatry. God sent fire from Heaven in such a dramatic manner to prove to all that He is God and that there is none like Him. This was a grand contest with the prophets of Baal. But after this victory, Elijah fled for his life when Jezebel (wife of the King, Ahab) threatened to behead him; just as he, Elijah, had earlier done to all prophets of Baal after his victory.
Why did this great prophet of the Old Testament run from this woman who threatened his life? Why couldn’t he stand as he had done to the prophets of Baal, and called fire from heaven?
It is recorded that Queen Jezebel was a very wicked woman; she ruthlessly destroyed everything that stood in her way. As truthful as it was, could the wickedness of the woman have been the sole reason for his flight? Remember, this prophet was a rugged man of God. He called fire from Heaven to burn up two captains of fifties with their fifties when he once felt threatened (2 Kings 1:9-14). This is what this Elijah could do when in his element. So, what could have hit him that hard to make him flee?
I believe he was stressed out. A critical look at the preceding events reveals this fact. Elijah had contended with four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah who ate at Jezebel’s table, and won at Mount Carmel with the famous decent of fire from heaven which consumed a burnt sacrifice. Following this event, Elijah slew all four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal single-handedly. Then, he prayed earnestly for rain, to end the three and a half years of drought brought by his earlier proclamation. After receiving the answer to his prayer, he ran ahead of Ahab from Mount Carmel to the entrance of Jezreel.
It was after all these events the Queen threatened his life. And that was the last straw; the straw that broke the camel’s back. He couldn’t take it any longer. He fled into the wilderness and requested death. This rugged prophet had become suicidal:
“It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4).
That was his request to the Almighty God; he had been excessively worn out, that he couldn’t even face life any more. That’s what weariness from stress made out of a fiery prophet. God knew exactly what he needed that time, REST. So He sent an angel to Elijah, twice with cake and a jar of water; and made him sleep enough to recover from his stress.
Stress seriously wears out God’s children and makes them vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. Satan knows this very well so he always tries to wear out Christians before he launches deadly spiritual attacks. He wears out the saints of the Most high with words he utters through people to discourage and weaken their faith in God (Daniel 7:25); and with excessive physical activities that stress and weaken the body, making them emotionally unstable and vulnerable.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
Have time to rest and wait upon God. If stress could make a fiery prophet as Elijah wish death, we should ever be mindful of it to live a purposeful life.
The Story of My Life: How Stress And Coffee Nearly Made Me Go Nuts!
The repercussions of unmanaged stress and excessive intake of coffee are just awful. I learnt my lessons the hard way. Read my confession at: https://etmed.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/my-story/