11th October 2011

Everyone Gets Weary

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.”
Psalm 23:1-2 (NLT) 

Have you come to the end of your tether lately? Have you felt exhausted, tired, useless and weary? In other words, has your string unravelled, your elastic band snapped, and your pilot light gone out? If so, welcome to the club! We all go through times of burnout but at least that shows that at some point we were alight.

The prophet Elijah was a great servant of God and at one stage of his ministry he actually called down fire from heaven in a head to head confrontation on the top of Mount Carmel with 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18: 17-40). Baal was just one of the false gods that Israel worshipped while under the rule of Ahab; the most evil king they ever had. (1 Kings 16: 30-34).

This amazing prophet stood alone against an evil king and a sinning nation, and God gave him a great victory that day. Not only that but He turned the hearts of Israel back to him. (Chapter 18; verses 36-39). Even so, Elijah became depressed and fearful because of a message from Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. She sent him a letter saying, “May the gods also kill me if by this time tomorrow I have failed to take your life like those whom you killed.” (Chapter 19: 1-2).  Verse 3 says, “Elijah was afraid and fled for his life!” Notice next what he says to God (v 4), “I have had enough, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors…”  Is that the end of his tether, or what? Unlike the battery-powered bunny, he just couldn’t keep going. But God understood Elijah’s weary despair and allowed him to sleep (verse 5). Then He sent an angel to touch him and awaken him to some food and drink. This happened twice—no rebuke, no lecture, just a gentle touch. God understood the reasons for his prophet’s weariness, and granted food and sleep.

God also cares about our weariness and calls us to take time to rest in Him and to cast our physical and spiritual burdens on him (Matthew 11:28). I hope that you will read forward to 2 Kings Chapter 2, verse 11 and discover that God still had work for Elijah to do; his service was not over, and when it was, God removed him in a very spectacular way.

Loving Father, thank you so very much that you understand our frail frame; you understand that we are dust and that we sometimes overextend ourselves. Help us to treasure the tender care that flows from your heart for us, and the rest that is available in your Son, our Saviour, Jesus.

Study by Cliff Neill

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