This weeks article is written by a Sam Antosh. Sam is a junior at Boise Bible College getting his Preaching Degree. Other than ministry, he loves coffee. He loves continually trying new coffees and methods of making it.
“Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 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.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. “
The above passage comes from 1st Kings 19 and chronicles one of the darker moments in the life of Elijah, which is truly remarkable because it comes directly after chapter 18. Yes, it’s obvious 19 comes after 18, but that’s not what I mean. I mean that this episode comes after the events of chapter 18, which, if you’re unfamiliar with the reference, is the story of Mt. Carmel in which Elijah calls down from heaven and backs down nearly 1000 false prophets. Amazing moment! And then, to top it all off, he calls down the rain again and gets some sort of divine speed boost to outrun the chariots of Ahab to Samaria! This is one of those mountaintop stories where you imagine Elijah is thinking, “Man! It couldn’t get any better! Nothing can bring me down!”
Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never backed down an army of false prophets and called down divine fire, but I have had some intense ministry experiences. You’ve probably had those too, experiences with God where you think it can’t get better! You think you’ll live on Carmel for the rest of your life and always be filled with the zealous fire of that experience, always be “outrunning the chariots” in passionate pursuit of Jesus.
But we know all too well what it’s like to be under the broom tree too, don’t we?
I’m not surprised at this account at all, in fact, I can’t really criticize Elijah either, because I know what it’s like to come down from the mountain and have real life smash you to pieces. From running with chariots in the glory of God, to laying down in agony in the desert, I’m shocked how quickly life turns. Suddenly, Elijah forgets and is paralyzed by the pressure.
Oh, how we can relate, and how quickly we forget the goodness of God and those experiences of fire and chariots, and all we can do is lie down under the broom tree.
But something happens in those moments…
God comes to Elijah and prepares a meal for him, telling him to journey to Horeb and meet with Him. And Elijah, strengthened by the food, goes to the mountain of God. On the mountain, He sees God’s glory in the stillness, and comes back down a changed man. A revived man you might say.
God is a reviver, and there’s something about those moments under the broom tree that makes Him love to meet us. When we forget, we despair, we get tired, He takes us to the mountain and we see Him. And in that instant He gives us the strength to keep going, and revives the fire of Mt. Carmel in our souls.
I’ve been on Carmel, and I’ve been under the tree. I suspect you have too. But I think we’ve all been to Horeb, we’ve all seen the glory, and we’ve all walked away revived. Because you can’t leave Horeb unchanged, and that’s when revival happens.