Elijah At the Broom Tree

Broom Tree

The Background

Elijah has just proved Jehovah is the true God, not Ba’al. Then he has 850 prophets of Ba’al and the sacred pole slain.

The Text

Then Aʹhab told Jezʹe·bel all that E·liʹjah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. At that Jezʹe·bel sent a messenger to E·liʹjah, saying: “So may the gods do to me and add to it if by this time tomorrow I do not make you like each one of them!” At that he became afraid, so he got up and ran for his life. He came to Beʹer-sheʹba, which belongs to Judah, and he left his attendant there. He went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree, and he asked that he might die. He said: “It is enough! Now, O Jehovah, take my life away, for I am no better than my forefathers.”

Then he lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree. But suddenly an angel touched him and said to him: “Get up and eat.” When he looked, there at his head was a round loaf on heated stones and a jug of water. He ate and drank and lay down again. Later the angel of Jehovah came back a second time and touched him and said: “Get up and eat, for the journey will be too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank, and in the strength of that nourishment he went on for 40 days and 40 nights until he reached Horʹeb, the mountain of the true God.

There he entered a cave and spent the night; and look! Jehovah’s word came to him, telling him: “What are you doing here, E·liʹjah?” To this he said: “I have been absolutely zealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, and I am the only one left. Now they are seeking to take my life away.” But He said: “Go out and stand on the mountain before Jehovah.” And look! Jehovah was passing by, and a great and strong wind was splitting mountains and breaking crags before Jehovah, but Jehovah was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but Jehovah was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire, but Jehovah was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a calm, low voice. As soon as E·liʹjah heard it, he wrapped his face in his official garment and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice asked him: “What are you doing here, E·liʹjah?” To this he said: “I have been absolutely zealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, and I am the only one left. Now they are seeking to take my life away.”

Jehovah said to him: “Return, and go to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, anoint Hazʹa·el as king over Syria. And you should anoint Jeʹhu the grandson of Nimʹshi as king over Israel, and you should anoint E·liʹsha the son of Shaʹphat from Aʹbel-me·hoʹlah as prophet to take your place. Anyone escaping from Hazʹa·el’s sword, Jeʹhu will put to death; and anyone escaping from Jeʹhu’s sword, E·liʹsha will put to death. And I still have left 7,000 in Israel, all whose knees have not bent down to Baʹal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

What I Have Gained From This Account

It is interesting to me how you can read things over and over and not always get the point. It is why I continue to read my Bible day in and day out. Elijah first came to my attention during a very dark time. Though I didn’t know it at the time I had an anxiety disorder and was living one very long anxiety attack. I couldn’t leave the house, I couldn’t eat, I’d get sick trying to watch TV, everything was difficult, not a good enough word. Truthfully I just wanted to be dead. I didn’t want to kill myself, that goes against everything I believe, but I would just have loved to have gone to sleep and then not awakened.

I recognized this was a problem and I needed help, but at the time my VA really didn’t have a lot to offer in mental health because they were so completely understaffed and I couldn’t afford to go into the community (I’ve since learned my way around the system and they are better staffed so no longer is this a problem for me). So I did the only thing I could think of. I turned to the elders. In the Witness community elders are charged with shepherding the sheep…me. They do things to care for the building and arrange for talks and other mundane things, but their most important role is to care for the congregation. So I went to a brother I trusted and told him I needed a shepherding call. These are meetings between two mature brothers, at least one an elder, and a sister, brother, couple, family, whoever has a need. These are done on a regular basis, but if needed you can ask for one. I also gave the brother a note to tell him my problems so he could come back to me with good Bible information. He came back with Elijah.

I couldn’t believe it! Elijah wanted to die, he was God’s prophet and yet he was just like me. That in itself was so encouraging. And then Jehovah’s angel comes and ministers to him! Fantastic! With attention from the elders and really focusing on this account I did much better and was able to finally get the mental health help that I needed.

This weekend though as we studied a little bit about Elijah another point came to my attention. Elijah said he wanted to die, and then nothing else for over 40 days to Jehovah. He was beat and he just wasn’t ready to talk and God got it. Sometimes when people are having problems they don’t want to talk about it right away. They may need time to even find the words. Or they may need time to trust you with their cares. So we have to be patient. When it seems someone is down and out offer your help, but be patient in allowing them to take you up on it. Always show yourself available, but don’t push. This is my latest lesson from Jehovah and Elijah.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s