Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. I Kings 19:1-3 ESV
Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:1-4 ESV
Ulysses S. Grant was a general for the Union army during the American Civil War. He saw many bloody battles, and won many victories for the Union cause. Before he fought in the Civil War, he also fought in the Mexican War with great bravery. In these two wars Ulysses S. Grant saw a lot of violence, which he faced with courage. But there was something a little different about this military general–he couldn’t stand the sight of blood! He couldn’t stand to see animals being killed, and he wouldn’t eat steak if there was any blood left in it. He had to have it charred to the point of being burned before he would touch it.
Elijah had spoken to powerful King Ahab and told him about his sinfulness, and he courageously faced 450 prophets of Baal and challenged them to prove that their god was real. Elijah seemed to be a fearless man of God, but when Queen Jezebel heard that he had killed all her prophets, she became very angry and threatened to kill him. Then this brave man suddenly became very afraid and ran away. His courage failed him with this new challenge.
It can be comforting to read about Elijah and know that we are all like him, weak and sinful people. No matter how much good God does in our lives, we sometimes fail and become fearful. Our faith and trust in God grows weak. God doesn’t leave us when we are weak and fearful, but instead he stays with us to help us and strengthen us. He came to us in Jesus and faced all the sorrow and trouble we face in this world. Jesus went all the way to a painful death on the cross for our sakes. Because of what Jesus did, we can know that God forgives our sins and is always there for us to love us and help us. His love is with us now and forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being with us when we are weak and fearful. Please help us and forgive us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.