This week’s Haftarah portion is 1 Kings 18:46–19:21. Listen in as Dr. Jeffrey Myers looks at Elijah and the difficulties he faced, and how he was able to overcome them.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftarah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftarah Portion – 1 Kings 18:46–19:21
Elijah was a powerful prophet known as a zealous champion of monotheism and opponent of idolatry. Elijah had at Mt. Carmel, drew a line in the sand, “How long are you going to jump back and forth between two positions? If Adonai is Yah, follow Him; but if its Ba’al, follow Him! The people answered not a word.” We know the story, Ba’al’s prophets had their chance to arouse their god and consume the altar but it failed miserably. Elijah stood and proclaimed that there was only One Yah, prayed and the altar was consumed. The prophets of Ba’al were slaughtered that day and YHVH was magnified. However, when Jezebel heard what happened she vowed to kill Elijah before the next day. When he heard this, he got up and fled for his life.
He probably thought that this great miracle at Mt Carmel would cause the conversion of the leaders and nation, but, finding himself mistaken, he allowed discouragement and depression to set into his spirit. He arose and fled to Beersheba. Spurgeon said, “Elijah failed in the very point at which he was strongest, and that is where most men fail. In Scripture, it is the wisest man who proves himself to be the greatest fool; just as the meekest man, Moses, spoke hasty and bitter words. Abraham failed in his faith, and Job in his patience; so, he who was the most courageous of all men, fled from an angry woman.”
Elijah’s discouragement and depression led him into the wilderness, and he came and sat down under a broom tree. He prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Adonai, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Can you believe that this mighty man of Yah who was mighty enough to make the rain and the dew stop for 3 1/2 years, and then mighty enough to make it start again at his prayer…now he prayed that he might die? The trials and testing of our lives, if we are not careful, can lead us down the same path. The weight of everything, the tragedies of circumstances, the turn of events can cause great disappointment and cause us to look at what we are going through instead of Who is walking with us through it.
What Elijah was expressing was, “He can’t do this anymore”, the work was too stressful, exhausting and really seemed to accomplish nothing. No revival came from Mt. Carmel, no return to the One True Yah. Elijah forgot that people reject Yah despite the evidence, not because of the evidence. However, it wasn’t enough because Yah had more blessings in store for him, He wanted to reveal Himself to Elijah like never before in his ministry.
Elijah had to move on from this place, Adonai wanted him to experience something greater than he ever could imagine. This encounter was going to be at Mt. Horeb / Mt Sinai, the place of revelation for so many men of Yah. Elijah had more life to give and more life to enjoy! So, it was “not enough”; how could he know that it was? It is Adonai alone who knows when we have done enough, and enjoyed enough; but we do not know. We don’t know what HaShem has in store for us. We can’t stop before He is finished unless we choose to miss out on the wonders of our Living Yah!
Elijah judges his life and believes it comes up short, He is unworthy to continue to carry the mantle any further. We must not give up or give in to the enemy, even the enemy of our mind and heart. Adonai is still behind the scenes; it doesn’t matter what you see…rise up and continue forward. I praise Adonai that He meets us where we are, no matter how we feel or what we have spoken.
Adonai ministers to the physical needs of Elijah, under that tree, an angel touched him and told him to “Arise and eat”. A cake was provided along with a jar of water. The angel returns with the same command, and Elijah ate again and, in that strength, he went 40 days and 40 nights as far as Mt. Horeb, the mountain of Yah. This 200-mile hike created a time capsule for Elijah to recover from his depression. Adonai didn’t demand an immediate recovery but allowed the prophet time to recover from his spiritual depression.
When we look at Elijah’s 40-day journey it is not without significance. A straight trip from Beersheba to Horeb would require little more than a quarter of that time. Therefore, the period is designedly symbolic. As the children of Israel had a notable spiritual failure and so were to wander 40 years in the wilderness, so a defeated Elijah was to spend 40 days in the desert.
In I Kings 19:9-10, “Elijah enters the cave and Adonai asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It is at this moment Adonai allowed Elijah to vent his frustrations. HaShem isn’t afraid that we voice our disappointments, frustrations, or anxieties. He is not afraid of what we spew out of our mouths. HaShem is our healer and part of that comes with releasing things from our heart and spirit. It was good for Elijah to speak to HaShem freely and to unburden his heart. Adonai has ways of teaching all of us in our bones and in our flesh, but He especially knows how to do this with those upon whom He puts any honor in His service.
Yah now reveals Himself to Elijah and tells him to “Go out, and stand on the mountain before Adonai”. Adonai knew what the depressed and discouraged Elijah needed. Adonai knows what we need in our circumstance and in our despair. So, what is it? What do we need? We need a personal encounter with Yah!
Adonai brings His Ruach before Elijah, but first, to show where He was not. He was not in the wind; He was not in the earthquake; He was not in the fire. Like Elijah, we look for Yah in dramatic manifestations, yet, Yah said, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith Adonai’. Why do we look for answers in the wind, they are not there! Why do we look for answers in the earthquake, they are not there! Why do we look for answers in the fire, they are not there! He is not in the wind, earthquake or fire…then where is He? Yah actually met Elijah in the quiet whisper of a voice, called a “gentle whisper”. What changes us? What changes people? It is the still small voice of Yah speaking to our human heart and that is more powerful than outward displays of power or displays of Yah’s judgment.
Stop looking at your life and ministry as a failure because the results you expected are lacking in substance. Stop reading the situation with the eyes of unbelief and stop allowing your imagination to lead you down a wrong perspective. As Elijah sensed the Presence of His Yah, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out in the entrance of the cave and immediately sensed that Yah was present in the still small voice. Because he sensed His Presence Elijah humbled himself in Adonai’s Presence.
Elijah being empowered by this encounter was able to receive further instructions to continue in his calling. Yah spoke and gave him his orders. It would be through this revelation that another prophet would arise, the prophet Elisha, that would take Elijah’s mantle and be double blessed in anointing.
We are not finished! If you are stuck in your discouragement then go to the mountain of Yah, and open your ears and listen for the still small voice of our King! This voice will give you hope, revelation, and the power to finish your course!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha!
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What a great day to serve Yeshua HaMashiach. Give Him the praise for all He has done. Enjoy your Sabbath!