Get up and eat: How the Word of God works in our lives

by | Mar 9, 2024 | Bible Study

In 1 Kings 19, we meet the prophet Elijah in a severely depressed state. So much so that he prayed to God that he might die (see verse 4). Elijah had had enough. He’d faithfully done the Lord’s word, performed signs and wonders in His name and defeated the prophets of the false god, Baal.

But now, Elijah was a wanted man. People were after him to take his life. He’d had enough – and I don’t blame him.

Let’s pick up the story from verse 7…

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

1 Kings 19:5-9,11a

What did God do in response to Elijah’s despair? He sent one of His angels to instruct Elijah to get up and eat. Not once, but twice.

The Lord was reminding Elijah that he still had more of life to live, a purpose to fulfil. And his answer wasn’t in a supernatural encounter, it was meeting a simple need – to eat food. It was the food that gave Elijah the strength he needed to travel forty days and nights to the place where he’d meet with God and receive his next assignment.

I believe that what this food did for Elijah is what the Word of God does for you and I today.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

 

Strength for the journey ahead

Elijah couldn’t embark on the road ahead without the bread and water the Lord provided for him. That meal not only strengthened his body, but I believe it would’ve also revived his spirit.

Elijah couldn’t do what God asked of him next without that nourishment. God’s Word does the same for us when we’re feeling weak, worn and weary.

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

Psalm 119:28

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Psalm 119: 50

The Word of God is full of the promises of God. Promises we can hold onto when our circumstances seem hopeless, knowing that no word from God will ever fail (Luke 1:37).

The Word of God is packed with truth. Truth that we can anchor our thoughts to, overcoming the lies of the enemy. If we go back to Elijah’s situation, he’d reached a point where he had a death wish. I mean, he was praying he would die – that’s dire! That thought certainly didn’t come from the Lord, who is the giver of life. It would’ve come from none other than the devil, whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) humans – the only creatures made in the image of God.

But once Elijah got up and ate the food from the Lord, he was strengthened in mind, body and spirit to do God’s work. Now note this happened after the second time he got up and ate. This highlights the need to not just go back to the Word once but to keep going back and fill ourselves with God’s truth.

The Word of God also pens the stories of people who’ve gone before us. People of God who’ve found themselves in threatening, intimidating and seemingly hopeless situations. Think of Joseph in a pit and then later thrown in jail (read Genesis 37-39). Or what about Naomi, widowed and she lost both her sons, in a culture and time when a woman’s future depended on the men in her family (see the book of Ruth). Or let’s fast forward to when Paul and Silas were in prison for delivering a woman from a demonic spirit (Acts 16).

Through these stories, we see God’s hand at work, making a way for the people He loves. We can read the experiences of the saints, many more extreme than anything we’ll ever experience, and receive encouragement that God also works on our behalf.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Romans 15:4

 

A way to encounter the living God

After eating, Elijah was able to travel to Horeb – the place where he would meet with God.

So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

1 Kings 19:8

Mount Horeb (which many biblical scholars argue is also Mount Sinai) is a holy place where God would encounter His people.

It’s where Moses witnesses the burning bush unconsumed by fire, and receives his call from God (Exodus 3). It’s also where God enters a covenant with the Israelites through the Ten Commandments and laws to live by (Exodus 19 to 34).

And in Elijah’s case, it’s where he stands in the presence of the Lord and hears Him through a gentle whisper (and not in the wind, earthquake or fire). That whisper prompts Elijah to move close and hear God’s voice, telling him to anoint the next kings of Aram and Israel. Elijah is also told to anoint his successor, Elisha (1 Kings 19:16), whose ministry ends up having double the impact of Elijah’s. Pretty significant, huh?

Where am I going with this? Well, it was the food that strengthened Elijah, leading him into God’s presence.

When we also eat our spiritual food by reading the Word of God, it makes a way for us to encounter Him. God is found in the pages of His Word – He IS the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1

Spending time in the Word of God is spending time with God. And the more we do that, the more we get to know God. The more we get to know God, the more clearly we can hear His voice. Even the gentle whisper, like Elijah. And it’s through the whisper of God that He reveals His will and tells us what He wants us to do next.

Receiving that clear direction starts by simply opening and reading God’s living, powerful Word (Hebrews 4:12).

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105

 

Vision and hope for the future

But wait, there’s more! To sweeten the pot, the Lord bookends His instruction with a message of hope.

Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.

1 Kings 19:18

It turns out that all Elijah did wasn’t for nothing, but there was a remnant of Israelites whom God would save because they hadn’t bowed down to other gods. Elijah was given a vision for tomorrow, a renewed hope for the future of the Israelites.

When we read God’s Word, we can also receive a prophetic vision, a rhema word (spoken from the mouth of God) for a specific time and season. God uses His Word to help us see what He sees.

And sometimes, that’s exactly what we need. When we look around us and things are looking bleak – our lives seem to be falling apart, the world is moving further from God’s truth and we don’t know what to do – we look to God’s Word. Through reading the Bible, together with prayer, we start to see things through a heavenly lens. We’re given vision for the life ahead and an opportunity to partner with God to build for the generations to come.

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

Proverbs 29:18

And when we build our lives and God’s Kingdom on the revelation we receive from His Word, we will not be shaken. That’s a promise for you and me, spoken from the mouth of Jesus Himself.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Matthew 7:24-25

 

Think about it

What have you experienced in the past when reading the Bible? Strength? Encouragement? Vision? Encounter? Take a moment to think about how you felt in that moment and the impact it had on the rest of your day or week.

Is there anything you’d like to experience more of when reading the Word of God? Ask God for it.

Pray about it

Lord, thank you for Your Word. Thank you for the life it brings, the power it releases and the wisdom it offers. As I read Your Word, help me to know more of You. I want to meet with You in the pages of the Word of God. I ask that You speak to my heart and give me a heavenly perspective on what is happening in my world. When I’m feeling lost, give me direction. When I’m feeling confused, give me clarity. When I’m feeling hopeless, renew my hope. All through your life-giving Word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Hungry for more of the Word of God? Sign up for my emails here. You’ll get Holy Spirit inspired revelations straight into your inbox. Let’s grow in our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word together!

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Written by Oyelola

Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. When not writing for clients, she shares her musings from life with Jesus through He Speaks, I Write. Beyond writing, she enjoys throwing back a frothy matcha latte, bushwalks with friends and curling up with a good book.

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