Behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.”
–1 Kings 19:5
The Bible clearly teaches that God uses His angels to provide for us. One of the best illustrations of that in Scripture is in 1 Kings 19. In this passage, Elijah had just finished a tremendous battle on Mount Carmel where he faced 450 prophets of Baal and boldly demonstrated that the God of Israel was the only true God.
After Elijah’s showdown on Mount Carmel, Queen Jezebel was enraged. She had promoted the worship of Baal; those prophets were her prophets. So, when Ahab told Jezebel what had happened, she threatened to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19:2).
What was Elijah’s response? “He was afraid and arose and ran for his life” (19:3). Why did Elijah become frightened? Some people say Elijah had a spiritual problem–he took his eyes off God and focused on his circumstances. Maybe. But I think Elijah was also physically and emotionally exhausted. He had just gone through an emotionally draining experience on Mount Carmel, and then he ran 25 miles to Jezreel. He was worn out. There is an inseparable link between our physical being and our spiritual being.
Utterly exhausted, Elijah finally sat down under a juniper tree and slept (19:5). Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap. That is exactly what Elijah did. He restored his physical resources.
After Elijah rested, an angel touched him and said, “Arise, eat” (19:5). So Elijah looked, “and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again” (19:6). Sometimes the second most spiritual thing you can do is eat. Isn’t that comforting? Sometimes when I am really tired and depressed, I go home and make myself a big vanilla milkshake. Sustenance can help you regain perspective on life.
“The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you’” (19:7). God knew exactly what Elijah needed during his time of trial. What Elijah needed most was not Bible study; it was not prayer; it was not a worship service. What Elijah needed most was rest and nourishment, and God used an angel to provide those things for Elijah. I think the presence of angels in Elijah’s life assured the prophet that God was not yet through with him.
We should not be surprised that God still uses angels to sustain and encourage us today, especially during times of stress.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Touched By An Angel” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.