If you’re like most people, you face times of physical exhaustion. I’m a card carrying member of that club. Life gets way too busy. Exhaustion happens. Often after an abundance of energy is spent on doing something good.
Take for instance the prophet Elijah. God gave him the task of confronting the evil King Ahab. His assignment included a showdown on Mount Carmel with 450 prophets of Baal. If you want to read the full account, you can find it in 1 Kings 18:23-39.
450 against 1.
Not great odds, but when God Almighty is on your side, one + God is a majority. That’s what played out on Mount Carmel. God did the supernatural through the work and prayers of Elijah. In the aftermath, the prophets of Baal were put to death as the crowd realized “The Lord—he is God!”
This May Surprise You
Now you’d think after that amazing experience Elijah would have been on cloud nine. Super pumped up. High fiving everyone. Singing “We Are the Champions.”
But it didn’t exactly play out that way. Actually not even close. After Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah and His God had done, and how he had killed all 450 prophets of Baal, Jezebel sent Elijah a death threat. She told him he had less than 24 hours to live (1 Kings 19:1-2).
After all that he had just seen God do, you’d think Elijah – the bold, confident, filled with faith, in your face prophet – would have stood up to this one woman like he had stood up to King Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal.
But instead he took off running until he found himself in the middle of the desert, under a tree, where he told God he couldn’t take it anymore and asked God to put an end to his life. Then he fell asleep (1 Kings 19:3-5).
Look What God Did
What’s interesting to me is what God did, and didn’t do, at this point. He didn’t lecture Elijah. In fact, He didn’t say anything to him. He simply began the process for replenishing him.
The approach God took reminds me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I first saw this chart in Psychology 101. Simply understood, this chart presents the importance of satisfying one’s basic needs before moving on to other higher levels of needs.
Do This Before Anything Else
God took this approach with Elijah. Before He dealt with his other issues, the Lord met his physical needs. In doing so the Lord gave us a “be sure to do this” list for when we are exhausted.
- Sleep – this isn’t optional. Sleep is foundational to good health, mental sharpness, and increased productivity. Studies suggest that more than 95% of people need 7-8 hours of sleep every 24 hours. We’re not told how long Elijah slept, but it was long enough to get his strength back so he was able to take a 200 mile, 40-day trip.
- Eat – God made sure Elijah ate. In fact, He sent an angel to bake Elijah some fresh bread. Now if you ask me, anyone that bakes bread is an angel, especially when you’re starving and in need of strength.
- Drink – the Lord also provided water for Elijah. New studies suggest men should drink about 3.7 liters of water (about a gallon) a day and women about 2.7. That’s a lot of water. Probably more than most of us drink on a regular basis, but good health demands it, as does recovery after demanding physical exertion.
We all get tired. It’s part of life. Even when all the stuff you’re doing is good stuff, exhaustion happens. But when it comes, don’t let it be your undoing. Don’t let it put you in such a state that you want to run away and be done with it all.
There’s a better way. Go back to the basics – sleep, eat, drink. That could be all it takes to get you refreshed and replenished and back in the game.
Question: Are you frequently exhausted? Do you sleep, eat, and drink like you should? You can leave a reply below.
Interested in more on this topic? Check out Dave’s current Replenished message series focused on Elijah. You can access the series here.