February 06, 2009

Running Grace

1 Kings 18:46-19:3

The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and … he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
1 Kings 18:46


Elijah was quite the runner. After triumphing in God’s name over the prophets of Baal and predicting the return of rain, Elijah ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to Jezreel (about 25 miles as the crow flies). Soon after, when Jezebel threatened to kill him, Elijah ran again—this time for his life—from Jezreel to Beersheba (about 95 miles as the crow flies).

Elijah’s run from Carmel to Jezreel was in the power of the Lord. But his second run was in fear for his life. The first run was with his cloak tucked into his belt; the second, with his “tail tucked between his legs.” Elijah’s “fight or flight” mechanism was working well. First fight, then flight.

The reason for his “flight plan”? Elijah thought he was the only one left who loved and served the Lord (see 1 Kings 19:10, 14). But the Lord gently reminded him there was another (Elisha), plus seven thousand more people who had not bowed to Baal (19:16-18).

That’s all Elijah needed to get started again. He soon anointed Elisha as the prophet who would take his place in the service of the Lord (see 19:19-21).

Let’s remember that God didn’t give up on Elijah even when Elijah gave up on God.

It’s called grace—grace to run, and be refreshed and encouraged, and obey.

God of all grace, give us today the grace to keep from running away, and instead to run to you, the source of all our strength. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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