The prophet Elijah walked in a very powerful prophetic gifting. He was a man of prayer and a man of great faith. He demonstrated a determination of purpose in his calling and a willingness to put his life on the line to prove that he served the one true God. All of the qualities were demonstrated as he stood alone and confronted the prophets of Baal:
At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.” Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. (1 Kings 18:36-40)
It would be easy to assume that a prophet of such power would not have character flaws. Yet when Jezebel made threats to kill Elijah he fled into the wilderness and complained to God. Elijah become so depressed that he asked God to take his life.
Now 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 even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, andsaid, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers (1 Kings 19:1-4)
Then Elijah descended into self-pity, saying he was the only prophet left. God later told him that he was not the only one, but that God had 7,000 prophets who had not forsaken His covenant.
Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, (1 Kings 19:9-10)
Lessons from Elijah
Elijah was a mighty prophet of fire and power. Yet at the very peak of prophetic ministry he plunged into discouragement, resentment, self-pity, a persecution complex and bitterness.
Discouragement – the initial stage, happens when people do not understand or receive our prophetic ministry.
Resentment – It the result when we allow ourselves to feed upon discouragement. We begin to elevate ourselves by continual criticism of others.
Self-pity/persecution – Nothing works out. Satan is always attacking me. Where is God? I am the only one speaking the truth. Other ministries just don’t get it.
Bitterness – A hard and critical spirit. Rejection is compensated for by controlling others. Inflated sense of self-importance and will become angry if questioned.
If you like this quick lesson on “Pitfalls”, let me know. We can learn from the prophets of old like Jonah, Peter, David and others. They are just like us, human. Want to learn more?