“The Solitary Tree”

1 Kings 19:4

King David’s son Solomon became king next and took Israel to its height as a political power.  But Solomon’s son Rehoboam ruled the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and Jeroboam led the ten northern tribes that eventually became Samaria.  There are a list of kings and their actions but a religious figure, the prophet Elijah, is the focus of the Biblical report.  Ahab in king in Israel married Jezebel who worshipped the Baals and roused Jehovah’s anger.  God used the prophet Elijah to confront the prophets of Baal.  There was a power encounter on Mt Carmel between 400 prophets of Baal and Elijah.  The god who could burn a sacrificed cow in answer to prayer would be the true God.  Elijah doused his sacrifice with 12 barrels of water and fire fell from the sky.  Elijah was exhausted.  Jezebel threatened to kill him and he ran into the wilderness.  Sometimes after the spiritual highs come the valleys of despair.

         “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came    and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might         die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better   than my ancestors.’ (v.3,4)”

         In the wilderness, alone, exhausted, and discouraged, Elijah found a solitary broom tree and sat down and prayed to die.  He had come to the end of his rope.  We call it “burn out.”  God did not abandon him, though. 

         Elijah slept and woke to an angel.  An angel came and told him to eat, drink and rest.  Elijah looked and there was bread and a jug of water at his head.  He ate, drank and slept again.  The rest and food sustained him for forty more days of travel into the wilderness to Mt. Sinai where he met with God.

         Sometimes we need “self-care.”  After highs come lows and I suspect that is normal.  God did not abandon Elijah in his weakness when he felt so alone but helped him find restoration.  It is important that we know how to pace ourselves and know what is our “broom tree” when we feel isolated and drained.  God cared enough to send an angel.  He cares about us in our exhaustion.  May we enjoy a brief time of rest and restoration as we totally focus on God now.

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