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What Elijah Needed

Are you having trouble sleeping? A “sound” pillow advertises itself as the solution. It looks like a regular pillow but includes two speakers inside. The pillow is comfortable (you don’t feel the speakers) and you can listen to music as you drift off to sleep. Elijah could have used one of these. He was tired and burned out. But why? Shouldn’t he have felt successful? He’d just won the confrontation on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). Fire from the Lord had fallen from heaven. The pagan priests had been killed. The people of Israel had returned to the Lord.

Yet sometimes after a high comes a crash. For whatever reasons—there’s more to it than Jezebel’s threat (v. 2)—Elijah felt down and depressed. The physical causes were straightforward (vv. 4–8). He needed rest and food. He slept soundly under a broom bush, and God twice sent an angel to him with bread and water.

Spiritually, Elijah was experiencing a crisis of faith (vv. 9–14). The faithless Israelites had rejected the covenant. His prophetic ministry seemed useless. Given what had happened on Mount Carmel, these feelings weren’t logical, but that’s often the way it is during depression. Elijah went to Mount Horeb (Sinai), looking to God for answers. And the Lord did reveal Himself—not through the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in a “gentle whisper” (v. 12).

Elijah’s despair also had a social dimension (vv. 15–18). He felt alone, vulnerable, and persecuted. God told him there were still 7,000 true worshipers. He also gave him a young prophet, Elisha, to mentor. And He gave him work to do (kings to anoint). God was saying, in essence: Just be faithful. I’m taking care of everything.

>> Which of these three areas—physical, spiritual, or social—is currently your area of greatest need? Once you decide, ask God to encourage you by meeting your needs and revealing Himself to you in a special way.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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