I AM ZEALOUS FOR YOU יהוה … BUT I AM ALONE! - 1 Kings 19

Shabbat Shalom family, we give all praise and esteem to our Mighty King, יהוה of Hosts, aměn!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 18:10 “The Name of יהוה is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.

How many of you have ever said or thought, “That’s it, I’ve had it, I can’t take it anymore, I have had enough יהוה, I can’t go on”? Familiar words I am sure that many of us have felt or used more than once. As we consider the major theme of the past few weeks Torah portions from Bemidbar/Numbers that we have been going through; as that of being encouraged not to be a grumbling people and to be on guard against the teachings of delusion; it can often become a very tiring walk of faith as we find ourselves having to continually stand and fight the good fight, not only in our own lives as individuals in dealing with many fearsome doubts and fears that come our way, but also in our bold witnessing before others who do not believe like we do, even close family members who continually stand against what we are so persistently proclaiming. We may all have the great zeal and desire for יהוה, yet that intense zeal can often lead us to a lonely place of feeling like we are the only ones who feel this passionate zeal to walk in the Truth and as a result at times may feel like we are facing a ‘burnout’ under the seemingly real threats of the enemies consistent charges against us for simply standing for the truth! Ever feel like that? Or you are doing everything you know to be right and true yet you feel like you are getting nowhere fast!!! Tonight I would like us to look at the account of a great man and prophet of Elohim, and learn from his experience of being under the fear of being alone in his zealous obedience for Elohim, in a message called, “I AM ZEALOUS FOR YOU יהוהBUT I AM ALONE!”. Please turn with me to Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 19  as we look at the details around Ěliyahu on the run… (Read)

Today I want us to look at Ěliyahu and his shattered state in wanting to give up. This valiant prophet was now gripped with fear, and at this point he is but just a shadow of the man he had been. We find him coming to a “broom tree” and in despair praying that he might die! His past miracles have been erased from his short term memory. He is exhausted and the burning flames of his faith have been extinguished by his emotional handicaps. He has now plunged to the point of pathetic; all hope has been lost and broken by fear he prays to the Elohim of life… for death! His confidence has been crippled and all that is left is emptiness, darkness and gloom.

It is hard to believe that this same man, Ěliyahu the Tishbite, who stood boldly before Aḥaḇ and promised a drought for 3 ½ years, a man who was fed by ravens and drank from the brook; the one who told the widow from Tsarephath not to be afraid and brought her son back to life; be in this state of panic and fear. This same man defeated and killed 450 prophets of Ba‘al; he called down fire from heaven which consumed 104 men. This same Ěliyahu appeared with Mosheh to Kěpha, and Yaʽaqoḇ, and Yoḥanan when יהושע was transformed before them on a high mountain. The point I am trying to make is simply this: no matter how great you are you will still have some bad days!

I would like to look at this account of Ěliyahu, who having just experienced such a great victory in destroying Ba‘al worship, runs at the threat of a wicked woman!

Before we look at these events, we must understand what led to this moment of fear, and who he was running from. Izeḇel had issued a threat upon his life, as Aḥaḇ had just comes and reported to her what had taken place at the showdown on Mount Karmel.

Aḥaḇ was on the throne of Yisra’ĕl for twenty-two years and Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 16:30 says that he, “did evil in the eyes of יהוה, more than all those before him.Verse 31 mentions that he married Izeḇel, and she was known as an evil woman, who brought Ba‘al worship to Yisra’ĕl. She was the real power behind the throne. They teamed up in their wicked terror. Verse 33 tells us that Aḥaḇ “did more to provoke יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl than all the sovereigns of Yisra’ĕl before him.

Izeḇel - אִיזֶבֶל  - Strong’s H348 means, Ba‘al exalts or Ba‘al is husband and can also carry the meaning unchaste which means lacking in purity and integrity – she was a wicked woman, which the spirit of Izeḇel must not be tolerated at all by the children of Yisra’ĕl. By Aḥaḇ marrying her was certainly the highlight of the state of depravity of Yisra’ĕl who had whored after Ba‘al under the leading of this ‘bride of Satan’.

Now this queen’s prophets had been killed and she was angered and issues a very big threat to Ěliyahu, the man of Elohim. She sends a messenger to Ěliyahu and threatens him with his life, and she basically issued a death sentence by saying in effect, “Ěliyahu, you are a dead man!” What we can learn from this is that this was a threat, from a woman who seems to be afraid to touch יהוה’s anointed; otherwise she would not have simply issued a death threat and given Ěliyahu a warning, but would have instructed the messenger to kill him. This proves how the enemies ‘bark is bigger than the bite’ – although in saying that, it is certainly the ‘bark’ that often frightens us the most!

This ‘bark’ or threat for his life came and he feared and ran for his life. He has just been a valuable servant in the hands of Elohim and brought a victory to Yisra’ĕl and instead of seeing some gratitude come his way and receiving a commendation, the queen of corruption threatened him! Ěliyahu was a man who had passions just as we do and was just as emotional as we are, and here in this phrase ‘he ran for his life’ in the Hebrew is based on two root words – ‘ran’ is from the word יָלַךְ yalak – Strong’s 3212 which means ‘he walks’ and is a derivative of the word הָלַךְ  halak – Strong’s H1980 which means, ‘to go, come, walk, manner of life, cause to live’, and literally speaks of how one lives, and it is used as a verb indicating that it is an active expression of one’s life. Our ‘walk’ matters and how we walk before Elohim matters: and in understanding what Ěliyahu was doing, we see that the word for ‘life’ here is the root word נֶפֶשׁ  nephesh – Strong’s H5315 meaning, a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion’.  In the expression here for him running for his life we can see that he was being directed and led by his emotions – he let his emotions of fear get the better of him and he ran!

Sometimes as יהוה’s children we often become frustrated by our own faulty perceptions and fearful because of danger. Here was a man who could encourage others, yet he couldn’t seem to encourage himself at this point. He helped others but couldn’t help himself in being strengthened by the Truth of what He knew. He had experienced enough and had now reached an emotional breaking point. But let us not be too hard on the guy, as we too have: problems we can’t solve, stress we can’t stand,  hurts we can’t heal, fears we feel powerless to fight,  tests we can’t tolerate, burdens we can’t bear, obstacles we can’t overcome, gates we can’t open and mountains we can’t climb.

Sometimes we lift our hands in surrender to circumstances and say, יהוה I have had it, I can’t take it anymore. I’m trying to do right but I’m suffering wrong. I’m tired of running scared; going out full and coming in empty. I’m depressed יהוה and I can’t go on like this. I have lost my fight and my zeal has grown cold.

Ěliyahu was not alone or the only one to go through this kind of spiritual paralysis. Mosheh had a similar experience in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 11:15: And if You are doing this to me, please slay me altogether, if I have found favour in Your eyes, and let me not see my evil!

Yirmeyahu complained to the יהוה in:

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 20:7-8 “O יהוה, You enticed me, and I was enticed. You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I have been ridiculed all day long, everyone mocks me. 8 For when I speak, I cry out, proclaiming violence and ruin. Because the word of יהוה was made to me a reproach and a derision daily.

and Yonah also experienced this kind of situation where he told the fishermen to throw him into the sea – in other words “let me die!

So, Ěliyahu was not the only one! Often when we find ourselves in a situation where we tend to think that we are the only ones to be in the dilemma we find ourselves in, we may often find that our emotions get the better of us and feel worthless and abandoned.

Ya’aqoḇ describes Ěliyahu as a righteous man, a man who prayed by faith; one who prayed effectively and fervently. This was a man who knew how to call on יהוה, and how to talk to יהוה, and boy did his prayers avail much! He knew that יהוה answers prayer. He prayed for the rain to stop and it did, for it to rain and it did. He prayed to bring back a widow’s son to life. He prayed for יהוה to respond with fire in a showdown with the Ba‘al prophets, and יהוה answered his prayers. Thankfully there was one prayer that יהוה did not answer in the way Ěliyahu wanted, and that was when he prayed for death. It wasn’t יהוה’s will for Ěliyahu to die by Izeḇel’s sword, in fact as we see from Scripture it was not in יהוה’s will for him to die at all, as he was taken up by a whirlwind into the heavens, before the eyes of Elisha.

We must never think that because the enemy has taken out others that יהוה will allow them to defeat us.

Ěliyahu went to -  בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע  Be’ĕrsheḇa – Strong’s H884 meaning, ‘The well of the oath or the well of the seven’ and as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we see in Berěshith/Genesis 21: 25-31 that this is where Aḇraham gave 7 ewe lambs to Aḇimeleḵ as a witness that the well was dug by Abraham after a dispute arose when Aḇimeleḵ’s servants seized a well of water that was Aḇraham’s, and they made an oath there that day.

It is also at Be’ĕrsheḇa that:

1 - Aḇraham called upon the Name of יהוה, the Everlasting Ěl – אֵל עוֹלָם –  Ěl Olam! Berěshith/Genesis 21:33

2 – Yitsḥaq built an alter and called upon the Name of יהוה, after יהוה appeared to him – Berěshith/Genesis 26:23-25

3 – Ya’aqoḇ brought offerings to יהוה and יהוה spoke to him and confirmed the Covenant – Berěshith/Genesis 46:1-3

Ěliyahu was going back to where his ancestors had connected with יהוה and in a sense was going back to the Covenants of Promise! He left his servant there and went a day’s journey into the Wilderness.

The word used for ‘journey’ is  דֶּרֶךְ  Derek – Strong’s H1870 which means, way, road, distance, journey and is from the word דָּרַךְ  darak – Strong’s H1869  which means, to tread or march and so speaks of our walk, our every step that we take – this we are to commit to יהוה. This word is used 13 times in Tehillim 119, which we know speaks primarily about the love for His Torah and 13 being the numerical value for the Hebrew word אֶחָד eḥad – Strong’s H259 meaning ‘one, we recognise that committing our every step to Him causes us to become as one in Him!

The Hebrew word for ‘into the wilderness’ is  בְּמִדְבַּר – ‘Bemiḏbar’, from the root word - מִדְבָּר  mibar – Strong’s H4057 meaning, ‘wilderness, desert’ and can also mean ‘mouth’. This word comes from the primitive root - דָּבַר  daḇar – Strong’s H1696 meaning, ‘to speak, command, counsel, declare, proclaimed, converse, warn, threaten, promise’ and a derivative of this word is also translated as ‘speech, word, commandment/s, message’, and the literal meaning of this actually carries the concept of ‘The place of words’ or ‘The place of speaking’, as we see that it was ‘in the wilderness’ that Yisra’ĕl learnt to hear the ‘voice’ of יהוה and so too was Ěliyahu directing his steps toward the place where he could hear the voice of יהוה. His emotions and fears needed to be dealt with and he comes to rest under a broom tree and cries out to יהוה, saying he has had enough and wanted to die! What is interesting here is that it says he came and ‘sat down’ under a broom tree – the word used for ‘sat down’ is the word - יָשַׁב  yashab – Strong’s H3427 meaning, sit, dwell, remain, abide, inhabit, sitting still and a modern word derived from this word which is translated as school is ‘yeshiva’. And ‘sitting’ in the Hebraic min-set is an idiom for learning; and it is at the Master’s Feet that we come and sit and drink of His Pure and Clear Living Water and get great clarity and insight and strength to sojourn with joy! The idea of sitting in the Hebrew mind-set here is to learn, and not to simply sit and vegetate but rather sit and pay attention to the instructions of their teacher.

Ěliyahu needed to come and hear the clear instructions of יהוה, and while we may recognise a weakness in his emotions driving him to run under the threats of the enemy, we can see a great picture of how we must run to יהוה, our Refuge and Strong Tower!

Ěliyahu, drained and exhausted falls asleep and like so many today who try to sleep away their troubles, wake up to find that their troubles are still there and have to be dealt with.

He was touched by a messenger and told to rise and eat, and he saw some freshly baked bread and a jug of water. He needed food and water more than sleep! He may have been pretty dehydrated and if he kept on sleeping he may not have woken up. We too need to recognise how we need Living Bread for dead situations! This bread and water is a clear picture of the Word of Elohim that strengthens and nourishes our soul, after all his soul was all torn up emotionally!

Ěliyahu eats and lays back down, and may have even considered this his last meal, yet the messenger came a second time and touched him again telling him to get up and eat – praise יהוה for second times!!! יהוה does not give up on the weak, rather He strengthens the weak:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the faint, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Ěliyahu needed to eat more as the journey was too much for him if he did not get enough of the right stuff!

We need to eat and drink of that spiritual food and drink! It is not a matter of what’s around you – it is a matter of what’s in you, If you have the right stuff in you, יהוה’s supply in you; if you are nourished by יהוה you will make it.

Just as our forefathers ate and drank in the wilderness, so too do we – we need to be eating and drinking the right stuff:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 10:3-4 “and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed, and the Rock was Messiah.

When you suffer a spiritual setback the only way to make a comeback is to be nourished by יהוה. Don’t give up half way through – have that ‘second’ helping - יהוה can renew your strength, aměn. He can revive your spirit, renew your hope and rebuild your ruins. In order to get strong we need adequate nutrition. After 40 days of testing יהושע said to Satan in: Mattithyahu/Matthew 4:4 But He answering, said, “It has been written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of יהוה.’

You know that when you feed your spirit with the Word you are strengthened and nourished. יהושע is the Bread of Life, and He said that if we eat this Bread we will live forever and that is exactly the picture we see from the life of Ěliyahu!

He needed this food to sustain the 40 days of testing! After being a prophet who had faced many a victory was now being tested and proven in the wilderness and he came to Mount Ḥorĕḇ, where Mosheh talked with יהוה in the burning bush; the same mountain where the law was given. Ěliyahu had been running from Izeḇel, but now he was running to יהוה! If you are running away from something you have to be running to something or else! He went to the place where he knew יהוה would show up. He got to the place where the covenant was established. He needed to meet with יהוה, and so he traveled 40 days.

Psalm 42:1-2 “As a deer longs for the water streams, So my being longs for You, O Elohim. 2 My being thirsts for Elohim, for the living Ěl. When shall I enter in to appear before Elohim?

Ěliyahu had faced what some might call “burnout” as he was depleted by many victories, then became disconcerted by fear, which disabled him through isolation where he became devastated by self-pity – a process many of us have faced to some degree or another! This is the place where you feel like throwing in the towel! Well Ěliyahu knew where to run to, He returned to the Truth, got nourished through the Word and came to the Mountain of Elohim where he went into a cave. This is where the Word of יהוה  - דְבַר־יהוה - ‘deḇar  יהוה’ came to him – this I believe is where he met with יהושע – as it says in reference to Messiah in:

Ḥazon/Revelation 19:13 “and having been dressed in a robe dipped in blood – and His Name is called: The Word of יהוה.

It is here in the cave that Ěliyahu is confronted and asked ‘What are you doing here, Ěliyahu?”. יהוה knew exactly what Ěliyahu was doing there but He wanted Ěliyahu to answer and here we recognise that while the Word will certainly strengthen us, it will also inspect us, as יהוה, through His Word, will search us and know us, and by His Word He will get us to search ourselves and return to Him and do what we ought to be doing:

Ěḵah/Lamentations 3:4 “Let us search and examine our ways, and turn back to יהוה.

Ěliyahu cries out and declares his zeal – in fact he was very zealous for  יהוה. The word for ‘jealous’ here is קָנָא qanah – Strong’s H7065 meaning, to be jealous or zealous, be envious, ardent. It is the same word used to describe Pineḥas in this week’s Torah reading from Bemiḏbar/Numbers 25 who was ardent for יהוה and rose up and took a stand against the whoring of Yisra’ĕl!

Here in Ěliyahu’s declaration of his zeal, this word is repeated to show how zealous he was in showing great emphasis , which in English is rendered ‘very jealous’. So – “zealous but all alone!” That is how he felt, even though he knew that there were at least another 100 prophets still around who Oḇaḏyahu had hidden in two caves, although at this point he did not think of them, when hiding in the cave he had come to!

What cave have you found yourself to be hiding in at times? A cave that causes you to not see that there are others who are just as zealous as you are? Could it be one of the following ‘caves’:

-          Cave of offense – simply because you are mad at someone or even at Elohim and you find yourself having totally withdrawn as a result!

-          Cave of despondency – you have been feeling numb and isolated from people and places as you have become very negative and despondent because things just do not seem to be going as planned!

-          Cave of comfort – where you are wrapped up in your own comfort and as a result have isolated yourself from  the true desires of Elohim and the needs of others around you!

If you have found yourself being in a cave of sorts and feeling all alone - The Word says to you – “Go out and stand on the Mountain before יהוה” – in other words – “Get out of the cave and stand on the Rock of your Salvation, and hear His voice”.

יהוה does not feed on our fears – he tells us to get out from the hiding places and stand firm! When Eliyahu heard the voice of יהוה he got out of the cave of self-pity! He certainly needed to see  and learn that יהוה was with him in good times and in troublesome times, and יהוה will not always appear in the supernatural and spectacular – for His power is in His Word – yet we have to get quiet to hear, guard and do what His Word says, then we shall not fear!

Shabbat is a great place for us as a family to come together and hear His powerful voice as we shut out the noise of the World and we come to sit at His feet and learn!

A second time the voice of יהוה came to Eliyahu and said, “What are you doing here Eliyahu?” and still he repeats what he said at first – his perspective hadn’t changed and while he was claiming to be the only one, he was actually being shown that he was afraid of people and was told to go and return and do what he has been called to – and that is to prepare the way! We are told that before that before יהושע comes that the spirit of Ěliyahu must first come!

Eliyahu was told to go and anoint Ḥaza’ĕl as sovereign over Aram and Yĕhu as sovereign over Yisra’ĕl and also anoint Elisha as prophet in his place! Elisha means ‘Elohim saves’ and so we see here a picture of progression – Eliyahu must come first to prepare the way for salvation to come by the hand of Elohim!

יהוה assures Ěliyahu that deliverance will be made complete and he says that he shall leave 7 000 prophets who have not bowed themselves to Ba’al. This is a very unique number as it speaks of fullness and also points to the Millennial reign that will be established and all Ba’al worship destroyed completely! We see this prophecy come true as Yĕhu certainly did kill Izeḇel!

Eliyahu learnt a great deal, and so too can we – while our zealousness for Elohim might be just as zealous as Ěliyahu’s was, may we guard ourselves from thinking we are alone – just look around the room and see that you are not alone! If you have allowed emotions to get the better of you and have allowed fears to drive you to a cave – hear the Word tonight – get out of the cave and stand upon the Rock – יהושע Messiah! Do not give up in fear of the ‘Izeḇel’s’ of the world – for there is work to do before the great coming of our Master and it is now time to take a stand and not sit in our caves, as we will see through the zeal of Pineḥas in our weekly Torah portion tomorrow! Go out and stand – you are not alone!  Shalom!

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