One summer, I faced what seemed an impossible task—a big writing project with a looming deadline. Having spent day after day on my own, endeavoring to get the words onto the page, I felt exhausted and discouraged, and I wanted to give up. A wise friend asked me, “When’s the last time you felt refreshed? Maybe you need to allow yourself to rest and to enjoy a good meal.”
I knew immediately that she was right. Her advice made me think of Elijah and the terrifying message he received from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:2)—although, of course, my writing project wasn’t anywhere near the cosmic scale of the prophet’s experience. After Elijah triumphed over the false prophets on Mount Carmel, Jezebel sent word that she would capture and kill him, and he despaired, longing to die. But then he enjoyed a good sleep and was twice visited by an angel who gave him food to eat. After God renewed his physical strength, he was able to continue with his journey.
When the “journey is too much” for us (v. 7), we might need to rest and enjoy a healthy and satisfying meal. For when we are exhausted or hungry, we can easily succumb to disappointment or fear. But when God meets our physical needs through His resources, as much as possible in this fallen world, we can take the next step in serving Him.
Following Israel’s dramatic return to the God of their fathers on Mount Carmel, Queen Jezebel’s threats against Elijah’s life (1 Kings 19:1–2) drove him to Mount Horeb (v. 8), where he encountered God. Horeb is also known as Mount Sinai—where Moses had encountered God many years before (Exodus 19ff.). This is one of several connections between these two Old Testament giants, but those connections aren’t limited to the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Elijah and Moses were united on another mountain—the Mount of Transfiguration—where they discussed with Jesus His coming departure from Jerusalem (Luke 9:28–31).