Again, I share a thought from Erwin McManus’ The Way of the Warrior: An Ancient Path to Inner Peace. (Seriously — have you gotten the book yet?) Toward the end of the book, McManus seals his argument on the way of the warrior and first making peace with oneself. We are 200 pages in and McManus offers the account of Prophet Elijah and his showdown with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). After God answered by fire, and the people bowed and declared Elijah’s God was God, Elijah was on a pinnacle of victory. Then, Jezebel sent a threat to kill Elijah and Elijah ran (1 Kings 19).
Usually, we hear that Elijah ran for his life. McManus posited that Elijah ran from his life; he had no energy to spare after the victory against the prophets of Baal (p. 204). “The last victory did not leave him with the strength for the next battle… After all, the reward of winning a great battle is a greater battle” (p. 204).
McManus made the case for Elijah’s exhaustion, and how close the darkness was after a great spiritual victory. Elijah wanted to end his life. A man of faith and courage who prayed for God to take his life. He said he had enough. Then McManus makes a contrast. How would we treat Elijah today, knowing about his victory against the prophets of Baal and the subsequent darkness that overwhelmed him?
I think if Elijah were alive today and responded in the same way, he would be the target of antagonism, judgment, and condemnation. He would be seen as unworthy of leadership. He would be told to stop focusing on himself and to put his focus back on God. He would be judged for his lack of faith, condemned for succumbing to his depression, and ridiculed for running away and not facing the realities of life.The Way of the Warrior, p. 207
McManus contrasts how we might treat Elijah with how God treated Elijah. God was kind. An angel came to get Elijah up and instruct him to eat. Nearby, the Lord provided bread and water. Elijah ate and slept again. When the angel returned to wake Elijah, he referenced a tough journey ahead. It’s worth noting here the timing of God; first, get up and eat. Then, get up and eat, for there is a journey ahead that is too much for you. THE MESSAGE: ELIJAH NEEDED TO REGAIN STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY AHEAD.
One of the differences between us and Elijah is that we have spiritual community. We have the Body of Christ. What I find sad is that many in the Body of Christ regain strength in isolation. Many, aware that harsh judgment is possible, keep people away and will not receive godly compassion, care, and comfort. Many judge themselves harshly, overestimating their physical condition after a spiritual victory. Dear Ones, we need strength for the journey ahead. If God knows this about us, we should accept this about ourselves.
May we take these thoughts into our hearts and renew our minds. May we extend the comfort of God to each other, especially after great spiritual battles are won. May we call one another to get up and eat. May we encourage each other to rest up for the journey ahead. May we exhort one another to keep going, in Jesus’ name.
Dr. Shaunta D. Scroggins is the founder of The Bereans’ Commentary.
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