“I have had enough” 1 Kings 19 v 4
In our reading tonight, we see Elijah struggling to deal with burnout. Burnout happens when we are overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to keep up with life’s incessant demands. It is no respecter of persons and can be experienced by people from all walks of life, whether young or old, male or female, in good or poor health. Burnout has hit a lot of people post pandemic. Things that people previously enjoyed have no longer any interest, instead they are weary, tired, and lacking in energy and stamina, and could well echo Elijah’s words “I have had enough”.
Elijah had a major emotional draining event in his life when he confronted 450 prophets of Baal to demonstrate that Jehovah was the one and true God. After this courageous act on Elijah’s part which proved Jehovah to be the true, Elijah was tired and exhausted, frightened and with a death threat hanging over him he flees, fearing for his life. It is at this low ebb in his life that Elijah says: “I have had enough”.
Read slowly the scripture passage below once or twice and see if any feelings resonate with yourself.
1 KINGS 19
Elijah Flees to Horeb
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So, he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.
The Lord Appears to Elijah
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
REST IN THE SILENCE with whatever spoke to you in the text.
Have there been times in your life when you feel you have had enough? If so, what helped you through that time?
What do you think was key in helping Elijah through his difficult time?
In what ways does this passage offers us hope and encouragement in the darkest of hours?
LSITENING TO THE LYRICS “Be still my soul.”
Lord, I’m weary.
My energy is sagging,
and I lack motivation and purpose.
Help me by your power and love
to feel your healing touch,
and be renewed in body, mind and spirit.
Thank you for your abiding presence and care
and for your provision in times of difficulty.
I am so grateful that you are
my refuge and strength. Amen.