The Prophet Who Wanted to Die

I Kings 19:1-14

Elijah the prophet wanted to die. He asked God to take his life because he had come to the conclusion that he was a failure. Elijah had just been victorious in the showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. God had sent fire down from heaven to consume Elijahís sacrifice (see I Kings 18:17-40). In addition, the prophet had predicted a terrible famine, and the Lord had not sent rain for three years. After that time, Elijah prayed for rain, and God produced a torrential downpour (see vv. 41-46). God was working mightily through His servant Elijah. This made him very unpopular with Ahab and Jezebel, the wicked king and queen of Israel. We read in I Kings 19:1-3:

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

Realizing that our leaders are not perfect will enable us to better understand and help them in their ministry. When he became depressed and discouraged, Elijah reacted as most people do-he sought release from his troubles through death. However, God refused to answer his prayer. Instead, the Lord provided the physical nourishment and spiritual encouragement that he needed to go on.

Why did God choose not to answer Elijahís prayer? In this passage we find several important factors that help us understand why God responded as He did Elijah. He evaluates our prayers in similar manner determining whether or not to answer them.

I. God Looked Behind Him.

II. God Looked Within Elijah.

III. God Looked Beyond Him.

IV. Godís Response to What He Saw.

When it appears that God is not answering your prayers, remember, He knows your heart. He knows what you have been through in the past and what lies ahead of you in the future. He knows what is best for you. Trust the Lord and wait patiently for His will to be revealed, realizing that He may have something even better planned for you than what you have requested of Him.