“But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness,
came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for
himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O
take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”
“And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold,
angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.”
I Kings 19:4-5.
Elijah was battle weary from engaging in contest with Jezebel,
Ahab, and the prophets of Baal. In flight for his life, he
came to a juniper tree, where he made the decision to submit
his life into God's hands. He had seen the hand of the Lord
move in phenomenal ways and felt that his life had been full
enough. He was ready to escape his weariness and fearfulness
Notice that the angel of the Lord did not come to Elijah
declaring that he had a great ministry to yet fulfill. Rather,
he was commanded to arise and eat. This was natural food,
which would strengthen him for the days ahead, because the
journey would be too much for him.
In the course of our service to the Lord, there may come
a time when the Lord will cause a seemingly unimportant natural
need to be met, so we might receive the necessary strength
for our spiritual journey. Because we expect the Lord to deal
with us concerning our spiritual needs, we may miss “the
angel of the Lord” bringing the message that the Lord
does care about the physical realm, and the robe of flesh
that we wear.
There are many battles to be fought and victories to be won
in our journey through life. We do not wrestle against flesh
and blood, but rather against principalities, powers, and
the rulers of darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12). It is rewarding
to be spiritually minded, attentive to the battle, and aggressively
warring against these powers of darkness.
But there will be times when our strength is depleted and
we become weary and discouraged. At such times, we tend to
seek out a “juniper tree” where we can hide to
nurse our wounds. It is here that the Lord will come to renew
and strengthen our outer man, thereby giving greater momentum
to the inner man of the spirit concerning all that is before
While praying in the garden of Gethsemane as His disciples
slept, Jesus made this observation, “The spirit is willing,
but the flesh is weak.” Luke's account of this Bible
story tells us that they were “sleeping for sorrow.”
Elijah also was under the juniper tree, “sleeping for
sorrow.” He needed to be strengthened, as there was
a great journey before him.
The Scripture says, “They that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:31). The word
“renew” means to “exchange.” Part
of our “waiting on the Lord” relates to our being
obedient when He speaks to us about “natural”
things to which we should attend. This may have to do with
things which will cause us to become healthier. Thus, we are
exchanging our ways for those things which will enable us
to be more effective in the outworking of His calling upon
The Lord sent an angel to address Elijah regarding his natural
needs. When someone presses us to eat right, or dress properly
when it is cold, that person is an “angel” and
we should be very thankful.
After Elijah had been ministered to concerning his natural
need, he was able to make the long journey to the “Mount
of God” where through an unusual process of training,
he learned to hear the still small voice of the Lord.
If he had not received this angelic visitation, he may have
arrived, weary from the trip. Rather than hearing the word
of the Lord, he may have heard only the cry of his tired flesh.
When there is an overwhelming natural need in our lives, it
may eclipse that which the Lord wishes to say, or do.
There is an interesting truth through nature that relates
to the habits of ravens. The Word tells us to consider the
ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; and the Lord feeds
them. Ravens have a varied and voracious appetite. The Lord
chose the raven for our consideration because He understands
our appetites and needs. The same Lord that feeds these ravens
will also feed us.
There was a miraculous provision
to address the present need of Elijah. The Lord not only fed
Elijah, but provided what he should eat. The Lord knows our
needs and He will supply. In this we can be confident.