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5.64 1 Kings -- The Flight to Horeb

The sacrifice (of the bull on the altar, and the prophets in the valley) marked the end of the drought.  The drought ended not because Israel repented, but because God chose to set a limit to the suffering of the land. Ahab said nothing at all -- no repentance, no worship, no fear of God. 
There is a kind of blindness and a kind of evil that are impervious to direct revelation.  Ahab and Jezebel are examples of both of these.  Ahab was a foolish and shallow man, under the thrall of his wife.  He was an eyewitness of the Power of God, but it had no impact on him.  He returned home to tell his wife what had happened. Jezebel was the real power in Israel, the embodiment of all the pagan and foreign enemies of God.  Far from repenting, she swore vengeance on Elijah for killing the false prophets.


Elijah's response was to run for his life.  At first, he fled to Beersheba in Judah, about 100 miles south of Jezreel.  Some people may ask why a prophet of God who could call down fire from heaven should fear a witch like Jezebel.  Elijah knew that, apart from the Word and Spirit of God, he was merely weak flesh.  And the very closeness of his contact with God had burned any self-confidence and pride out of him, and made him aware of how paltry a creature man is:

        [He] prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors" (1 Kings 19:4).


He knew that many genuine prophets of God had been killed by this woman (1 Kings 18:4), and he might be next in line -- unless God chose to rescue him.  But if God did not….  We have this contemporary image of the "Man of God" being a superman, a hero, with miracle-working powers.  But Elijah knew the truth -- he himself sent neither the fire from heaven nor the rain, nor could he deliver himself out of Jezebel’s hand.  He felt the extent of his powerlessness, and this was the basis of his fear.  


One of the most poignant aspects of his flight is that God actually assisted him in running away! 

        Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.  All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat" (1 Kings 19:5).


         Strengthened by food from the angel, he left Beersheba and traveled further south to "Mt Horeb,"  "probably an alternate name for Mt Sinai" (NIV p. 514), another 250 miles away from Jezebel.   And there on the mountain he hid in a cave.  Only then did he feel safe.

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