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God's Tender Compassion

“And Elijah was afraid and arose and ran for his life …. He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ Then he 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. 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.’ So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.” I Kings 19:3-8

This passage is, to me, one of the most tender images we have of God. We see Elijah – the strong, courageous, faithful prophet – exhausted. Completely done in physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. He actually begged God to let him die in the wilderness.

Does God rebuke his prophet? Get irritated and demand that Elijah stand up and get with the program? Tell him to snap out of it?

No. God comes to him. In person. This is “the angel of the LORD” – the preincarnate Christ. And God makes him a meal, bids him eat, and tells him to go back to sleep. And when Elijah wakes up, God has again been in the kitchen, and has made him a second meal. And as he eats, God says softly, “I know how hard this is. I know this is a tough journey. Take your time. Regain your strength. I’m here.”

  • Imagine God coming to you in your pain and exhaustion and comforting you as he did Elijah. Take the time to imagine in the scene in detail. How does it make you feel?

  • One of the places that God meets with us to extend us his comfort and his strength is during our quiet time: time we spend reading his Word and talking with him. How is your quiet time right now? What do you tend to do during your quiet time? How long do you spend? Are you spending enough time to actually be able to quiet your heart to hear God speak?

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