In a rather obscure scripture, Elijah paused at what the Bible calls a broom tree and went to sleep. The emotional impact of Jezebel’s threats overwhelmed him as he collapsed in this nondescript place. An angel of the Lord came to feed him; his body was wasted from the prior event. The prophet fell back asleep as he needed the rest.
Spiritual battles combined with daily duties are taxing on the mind and body. The constant running from one thing to another has left many with less energy and more anxiety. Some call it “the grind.” Elijah called fire down from heaven, killed 850 false prophets, and ran down Mount Carmel some nine miles to safety. If that was not enough, the queen sought to take his life. The combination of both the physical and emotional attack took its toll. I Kings 19 tells us that Elijah walked a full day’s journey and slept under a broom tree. It was too much, even for this powerful man of God.
The Sabbath was meant for rest, but the church often rejects God’s law. Instead of preparing for Sunday worship, many are depleted from a long weekend of activities. Our schedules leave no room for prayer, much less mediation. Paul told us to meditate on “these things” Phil 4:7, but we are either consumed with busy lives or we are drowning in media or entertainment. Until we restructure our lives and prioritize our days, true rest, which is followed by peace, will be left undone.
Physical duress, which often comes from harried lives, leaves us open to spiritual dangers. When the mind is worn down and the body is weak, the enemy has ample room to attack our thoughts. Poor diets, lack of sleep, and undisciplined lifestyles are not always related to spiritual attacks. However, our physical frame is not isolated. We are body, soul, and spirit. One affects the other. Nothing is isolated when it comes to this life. God knows our weakness and the frailty of our frame. His pattern includes rest, meditation, contemplation, and sleep. He instituted the night time hours for this very purpose. When we bypass His order, our lives, both physical and spiritual, become disjointed and weak.
I urge you to take time and consider the scripture. Turn off your media devices, televisions, computers, movies, video games, and phones. Prepare for worship by reducing other activities. Open up your Bible every day and read the Word. Talk to God openly about your life, burdens, fears, concerns, and needs. The path to healing is found in these small, but critical directives.