Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. Psalms 103:13.
One day you see a large crowd gathered on a mountaintop. They have been there since early morning, called together by a man the king has hunted futilely for more than three years. It’s rumored that he is responsible for the three-year drought in the land, and the people wait, whisper, and wonder near the two altars that have been erected at Elijah’s direction.
With a blaze of fire from heaven, Elijah’s sacrifice, the water, and even the altar are consumed, and all present are brought to acknowledge the God of heaven.
That very night, aroused from sleep by a palace messenger, Elijah flees for his life before an angry woman. He fears that even the God who answers by fire is not big enough to protect him from the wicked Jezebel.
He flees in terror through the darkness of the night, with the greater darkness of his own fears and discouragement accompanying him. Finally he comes to the end of his own resources, sits down under a juniper tree, and prays that he might die.
“Did God forsake Elijah in his hour of trial? Oh, no! He loved His servant no less when Elijah felt himself forsaken of God and man than when, in answer to his prayer, fire flashed from heaven and illuminated the mountaintop.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 166.
Instead of answering Elijah’s prayer to take his life, a God of infinite love and pity, who knew his frame and sympathized with his humanity, sent a heavenly messenger with food and water to sustain his life. A second time the angel came saying, “Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.”
When our faith fails, when discouragement comes to our lives, do we flee in terror, expecting an angry God to consume us for our lack of trust? Are we any less inclined to misunderstand His love and compassion? Do we constantly expect a God of fire and lightning to execute judgment, and fail to recognize the gentle touch, the still small voice, of our best Friend, who says, “I love you just as much when the journey becomes too great for you”?
That’s God speaking. That’s God. The Old Testament God—the God of the New Testament, the God of today.