A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: Elijah on Mount Horeb


Elijah and the angel of the LordJezebel was furious when she learned what had happened on Mount Carmel – especially when she heard that Elijah had had all of Baal’s prophets executed. She vowed to do the same to him. Elijah heard about this and fled. Leaving his servant behind, he went on into the desert. There he lay down. ‘I have had enough, God,’ he said. ‘Let me die.’ But an angel of the Lord woke him up and gave him food and water. Elijah slept again – and again he was woken and commanded to eat so that he could manage the journey ahead of him. Afterwards, he travelled for forty days, until he reached the mountain of God, Mount Horeb, and rested in a cave.

There, God said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ The prophet complained about:

  • How much he had endured
  • How there was still no end to the danger in which he lived, despite all he did for God
  • How he was the only true follower of God left in the land.

Then God said, ‘I am going to pass by.’ Suddenly a wind scoured over the mountain, so powerfully that rocks were shattered. But the Lord was not in that wind. Then an earthquake shook the mass of the mountain, but the Lord was not in that, either. Fire followed the earthquake, sweeping over the rocks. But the Lord was not in it.

Then there came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he went out of the cave, pulling his cloak over his face, for he knew that this was God. Again, God asked him what he was doing there, and Elijah repeated his complaint. This time, God told him what to do. He was to anoint the next king, the next military leader and also his own successor, Elisha. Then God encouraged Elijah that he was not alone: ‘I still have seven thousand faithful followers in Israel.’ So Elijah was able to continue with God’s work.

The story illustrates:

  • The idea that obeying God does not automatically lead to a safe or happy life
  • The sovereignty of God
  • That God cares for his people, hears them and responds to their needs

Bible References

1 Kings 19:1-18
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