Patrick, the fifth-century missionary to Ireland, desired above all to spread the gospel: “Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. . . . I must take this decision disregarding risks involved and make known the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation.” Legend has it that at the top of Eagle Mountain, now called Croagh Patrick, he rang a church bell that drove the snakes (or perhaps demons) out of Ireland.
On the top of Mount Horeb (another name for Mount Sinai), Elijah heard the voice of God—but it was not what he expected. Elijah hadn’t ended up there by chance. He knew the history. On the same mountain where Moses had encountered the burning bush and the nation had received the Law, Elijah sought answers.
Why did he feel afraid and discouraged? After all, the Lord had just won a memorable victory on Mount Carmel. One reason was a lack of faith (v. 3). Another was that he felt emotionally depressed, due to loneliness and conflict in ministry (vv. 4, 10, 14). In addition, he was physically exhausted and run-down (v. 5).
God met Elijah at each of his points of need. He provided bread, water, and time to rest (vv. 5–8). He gave him new work, revitalizing his sense of purpose (vv. 15–17). Elijah was to anoint Jehu as king, signaling the good news that the reign of Ahab and Jezebel was nearly finished. The Lord further told him that 7,000 others remained faithful (v. 18).
Personally for Elijah, God revealed a ministry successor to train, Elisha. Most importantly, God gave Elijah a fresh vision of Himself—one of relational care and faithfulness, conveyed in a “gentle whisper” (vv. 12–13).
Are you trusting God to meet your needs? They might be physical, emotional, social, or spiritual—or a combination of all of these. Just as Elijah did, you can tell the Lord directly what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. He loves you and knows better than you how to encourage you and get you back on your feet!