The prophet Elijah should have been at the very peak of his game. He marched dramatically onto the pages of history at the beginning of I Kings 17 with a whole series of mighty deeds that he performs that already sets him apart from the ordinary run-of-the-mill followers of God. These deeds reach their crescendo in the confrontation (and slaughter) of the 450 prophets of Ba’al, followed by the ending of the three-and-a-half year drought at the word of his command. But when the evil Queen Jezebel sends him a threatening message, promising to kill him, that is enough for this mighty warrior prophet to turn and run as far and as fast as his little legs would carry him. It is implied that he runs the length of the nation of Israel – from Mount Carmel in the north to Beersheba in the southern kingdom of Judah in the space of a single day – the best part of a hundred kms. And then he leaves his servant there and continues for another whole day further into the wilderness until he ends up lying in a heap under the only shade he could find – the gnarled branches of a brush tree. It’s no wonder that he is somewhat tired when we find him. It is all he can do at the prompting of the messenger of the Lord to awaken to eat and drink – before falling back asleep again.
His life was out of rhythm. Like ours sometimes. Part of the purpose of our lives is to recognise when things have gone astray and allow ourselves the space to hear the invitation of the Lord to get up and eat the precious gift of his body as the bread of life.