The hiding place ∙

The hiding place

Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” Elijah was afraid and fled . . .. – 1 Kings 19:2-3

1 Kings 19:3-15

 3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.

 4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!”

 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

 7 Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

 8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.

 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the LORD said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

 10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

 15 Then the LORD told him, “Go back the same way you came.”

The Hiding Place was first published in 1971. The movie was made in 1975. The Hiding Place is a story about a Dutch family, a father, and two daughters who were all children of the King. They risked their lives to save as many Jewish people as they could from being captured and exterminated by the Nazis during World War II.

Corrie ten Boom was an unmarried watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in a tiny house over their shop. Their uneventful days revolved around their abiding love for one another. During WWII when the Nazis invaded and occupied Holland, Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground.

Their tiny home became a safe place for Jewish people trying to escape from the Nazis. They built a special room for them to hide in, a hiding place. Everything went well until they were found out, caught hiding and protecting Jewish people. Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Their strong faith allowed them to endure the horrific hardships that followed. Only Corrie ten Boom survived.

Many children of the King have had mountaintop experiences. For Elijah, Mount Carmel was literally that. He experienced the Father’s mighty power. Remarkably, he saw the Father answer his prayers with fire from heaven. He was given complete and total victory over his enemies. He was on top of the world. But did that keep him going? Regrettably, no. Mountaintop experiences simply fade with time. Further, the mountaintops are often followed by deep valleys.

Psalms 94:22 The LORD is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide.

The Father is excellent at providing hiding places. He often provides B&Bs. The Father provided Elijah with one of the first B&B adventures.

REFLECT & PRAY

Lord usually leads His faithful people a step at a time as they tune their hearts to His Word. The Father did not give Elijah a three-year schedule to follow. Instead, He directed His servant at each critical juncture in his journey, and Elijah obeyed by faith (Wiersbe).

Father thank You that You have committed Yourself to me Your undeserving child. You have invited me into Your forever family and will lead me wherever You want me to go.

INSIGHT

Visualize this scene. Picture Ahab whimpering and whining to his wife Jezebel. Perhaps Ahab began with something like this, “Jez honey, Elijah, Yahweh’s troublemaking prophet, has been so mean to me. He made me look really bad when he prayed and called down fire from heaven. Yahweh answered his petitions, but my prophets were clueless. Then on top of that, because of him, all of my prophets are now dead. What am I going to do?”

Jezebel knew exactly what to do. A bit of smack talking.

Elijah had faced death and defeated all of his enemy combatants. But now Jezebel intimidates him with mere words and threats.

1 Kings 19:1-3

 1 When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal.

 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”

 3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.

No doubt, Elijah was emotionally rung out and perhaps physically exhausted and ravenously hungry. He caves. Filled with fear, he ran for his life. While fleeing for his life he became depressed and wanted to die (1 Kings 19:3-15).

His hiding place is a cave at Mount Sinai. This B&B was the best. The accommodations were five-star given the time and place. The room service was heavenly, angelic in fact. He was supernaturally fed. This time angel food was on the menu. On top of that, he had a close encounter of the third kind with the Father Himself.

The LORD said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9). The question was penetrating and convicting. Elijah awkwardly pulled himself together. He did what he was told. He hired an assistant, who became his replacement, Elisha.

And what of Ahab and Jezebel? They had done great evil before the Lord. The Father never takes kindly to that. How evil? About the worst ever since the flood.

1 Kings 21:25 No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the LORD’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel.

Things did not end well for them, as a matter of fact, it probably could not have been much worse. They were doggedly pursued and killed. They suffered one final insult; their remains were eaten by dogs.

2 Kings 9:36-37

 36 “This fulfills the message from the LORD, which he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: ‘At the plot of land in Jezreel, dogs will eat Jezebel’s body.”

 37 “Her remains will be scattered like dung on the plot of land in Jezreel so that no one will be able to recognize her.’”

The fact that Jezebel’s remains were scattered like dung provides an interesting segue into the meaning of her name, and a humorous play on words that was exploited. 

The original Hebrew Old Testament was written only in consonants. The vowels were supplied when it was read. The primary consonants of Jezebel’s name are ZBL. ZBL can be rendered as zebul – prince. Or they can be rendered zebel – dung. Undoubtedly folks from her hometown, Sidon, called her “Jezebul” meaning “where is the prince?” But the Hebrews would mockingly call her “Jezebel,” that is, “where is the dung?” The answer of course was, scattered!

¯\_()_/¯ 11-11-9

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