Kings and prophets of the Bible – Northern Kingdom (Israel)
Elijah’s encounter with God in Beersheba (1 Kings 19:1-18): When Elijah reached Beersheba, he left his servant there(v.3) and went into the wilderness (v.4).
V.4:… It is enough! Now, LORD take my life… Elijah was so hopeless, dejected, and miserable that he wanted to die.
V.5:… an angel touched him and said to him… Elijah was hearing and responding to the voice and messengers of Jezebel only; and now God starts to interact with Elijah through an angel to put Elijah on his track. Angel said to him, “Arise and eat.”
V.6:… ate and drank and lay down again… Elijah would have thought that the food (provision) mean nothing more than just eating and he lay down again. Every act and provision of God comes with a purpose of God in our life.
V.7:… for the journey is too great for you… Elijah was informed by God that his journey is too great that he has to strengthen himself.
V.8:… he…ate and drank….went in the strength of that food 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God… This Horeb was also called Mt. Sinai. The distance between Beersheba and Mt. Horeb was about 250 Miles (400 Kms).
Elijah and Moses: Mt. Horeb was the place where Moses went up and stayed 40 days without eating and drinking when he got the 10 Commandments from the LORD. The LORD God took Elijah to the very same place where HE talked to Moses.
V.9:… What are you doing here… God was trying to make Elijah to come up with better conversation.
V.10:… People of Israel have forsaken your covenant,…I, even I only, am left… Now, Elijah has changed partly, and got rid of his DEATH REQUEST. Instead, he talked about Israelite’s apostasy and prophets’ death.
The rebellion of one person (Jezebel) has turned massive victory into overwhelming defeat, in Elijah’s mind. He is certainly not the only one left, but that is how he feels. – ESV Study Bible.
Vs. 11 & 12:… not in the wind…not in the earthquake….not in the fire… Comparing Mt. Carmel with Mt. Sinai. In Mt. Carmel, it was God’s spectacular display of His power, especially, answering through fire. But here in the midst of the presence of all such things, God is revealing himself in a quiet manner. Here the LORD is dealing with a servant of the LORD. So He used a low Whisper.
Vs.13 & 14:… What are you doing here… God repeated His question from verse 9, because Elijah is filled with self-pity. And Elijah responded in the same as in verse 10.
Vs.15-16:…return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus…… God responds to Elijah’s self-pity by assigning him 3 jobs. God asked him to go from south to the very north of Syria-Palestine. 3 Assignments are to anoint Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha.
3 Assignments: 1. Anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, 2. Jehu, the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel, 3. Elisha to be prophet in yElijah’s place.
A new political and religious order is to succeed the old, and this order will bring about the final victory over Baal worship.Total victory will come as a result of an ordinary political process (a “whisper”), as God removes certain kings and sets up others; it will not come only as a result of obviously spectacular demonstrations of divine power (wind, earthquake, and fire) as at Carmel (18:20–40). And it will arrive not as a result of Elijah’s efforts but as a result of the efforts of others. Elijah’s role is now to prepare the way for these “others,” who are only a few of many servants of God who have not bowed to Baal or kissed him. God has ways of working other than the spectacular (though he is always free to work in supernatural ways). – ESV Study Bible.
When Elijah was focusing on himself and his life, God was focusing on the Nation of Israel as whole and it’s life. When Elijah was concentrating on his peaceful departure, God was concentrating on bringing back the people to God by restoring righteousness in the nation. Purposes and plans of God will not die with the prophet, but it continues. If a servant or a prophet realizes this, he won’t cry for his security and run for his life. He won’t demand death but he will still working somewhere in the vineyard of God until death strikes him.
V.18:… I will leave 7000… God always has HIS remnant (Romans 11:3).
Elisha followed Elijah 19:19-21: Elisha’s farewell to his family by breaking his plough and killing his oxen, so he won’t turn back. So, the farewell is not the farewell of crying, but a farewell of announcing his decision to God’s call.