Why did Elijah fear Jezebel’s intimidating threats? Why did he run away from his longstanding priority of serving God and hide in fear under the shadow of that solitary tree, deep in the wilderness?
First, Elijah was not thinking realistically or clearly. He was so shortsighted that he failed to consider the source of this threat. Think about it. The threat hadn’t come from God; it had come from an unbelieving, carnal human being who lived her godless life light-years from God. If Elijah had been thinking clearly and realistically, he would have realized this.
Second, Elijah separated himself from strengthening relationships.
Third, Elijah was caught in the backwash of a great victory. Our most vulnerable moments usually come after a great victory, especially if that victory is a mountaintop experience with God. That’s when we need to set up a defense against the enemy.
Fourth, Elijah was physically exhausted and emotionally spent. For years Elijah had lived on the edge. He was a wanted, hunted man, considered by the king to be Public Enemy Number One. There is little doubt that Elijah had come to the end of his rope physically and, for sure, emotionally—all of which couldn’t help but weaken him spiritually. I don’t know if Elijah was disgusted, but I can tell you he was exhausted. You can hear it in his weary words: “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
Fifth, Elijah got lost in self-pity. Self-pity is a pathetic emotion. It will lie to you. Exaggerate. Drive you to tears. It will cultivate a victim mentality in your head. And in the worst-case scenario, it can bring you to the point of wishing to die, which is exactly where Elijah was.
We open the door for that pathetic liar, self-pity, when we establish an unrealistic standard and then can’t live up to it. Self-pity mauls its way inside our minds like a beast and claws us to shreds.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.