Immediately after Elijah embarrasses Ahab and the prophets of Baal by calling fire to consume a water-drenched altar, Elijah despairs. Discouraged, he laments, “I am no better than my ancestors” in a moment where he feels so defeated he wishes to die. This, on first blush, seems incredibly strange considering Elijah’s recent tremendous feat. Even though God is ultimately responsible for this miracle, Elijah has been God’s chosen instrument for many incredible deeds. So why such a response?
No joke, Elijah is just tired and hungry. Immediately after wishing for death, Elijah finds some shade and goes into deep sleep (1 Kings 19:5). Twice after this an angel wakes him up to feed him before his long journey (1 Kings 19:6-9). Elijah is God’s worker, but he is also human with the limitations of a human body that we all experience daily. Food and rest are important for even the most righteous.
We do well to remember the prophet’s frailty in this story and embrace the limits of time, space, and energy that we all experience. God wants to use us as ambassadors, but God also wants us to remember that we are children in need of all God provides. We remember our Father well when we rest and trust the God who never sleeps.