Today’s Bible reading* is one of my favorite stories in the Bible: the showdown between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.
The story is a familiar one for those of us who have been around church for very long. In it, Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal (the fertility god) to accept their sacrifice. As the day wore on, the prophets of Baal cried out and even cut themselves. But when it came time for Elijah to pray for God to answer, he had the people pour three jars of water on his altar. There was so much water, it even filled a four-gallon trench Elijah had dug around the altar. Mind you, it hasn’t rained for three years. Where did they get the precious water? Elijah prays a simple prayer.
And God shows up!
God’s fire consumes the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and the water in the trench around the altar!
Following this showdown, Queen Jezebel sends word to Elijah that she will have him killed before the day is over. In his fear, he flees and finds himself in a deep depression. God calls him to sleep and awakens him with a cake of bread and water, which he eats and drinks. After falling asleep and waking to eat again, he’s refreshed enough to walk forty days and nights to reach Mount Horeb.
Again, God shows up!
But this time, God’s arrival isn’t accompanied by fanfare, but rather a quiet, reassuring, yet confronting Voice. Elijah, who thinks he’s the only one who hasn’t left God to follow Baal, learns that he isn’t alone; God has seven thousand more who haven’t turned from God. (1 Kings 19:18)
Sometimes after experiencing a spiritual “high”, we find ourselves in a defeated emotional mess. Like Elijah. It’s times like these that we may need to get some rest by taking a nap, rehydrating, and eating some cake! It’s amazing how rest, water, food, and exercise can reset our bodies and emotions.
If you’re feeling down, try resting, rehydrating, eating well, and exercising. Ask God to use these things to refresh you and bring you back to your Lord and mission. Like Elijah did.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
1 Kings 17
1 Kings 18
1 Kings 19