ODJ: To the Lonely

May 23, 2018 

READ: 1 Kings 19:1-21 

The people of Israel have broken their covenant with you. . . .I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too (v.10).

In 2017, two surveys highlighted the growing number of lonely people in the UK. One report claimed that some eight million men felt lonely at least once a week, with an estimated three million experiencing it every day. Another survey of more than 2,000 people suggested that nearly 75 percent of young people with disabilities suffered from loneliness.

While some believe isolation is particularly prevalent today—the price paid for our modern lifestyle—feelings of loneliness have been around for a long time. The prophet Elijah, who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab, frequently felt isolated and lonely (1 Kings 18–19). God used him to defeat 450 prophets of Baal and in answering his prayer for rain brought an end to a three-year drought (18:19-46). Despite this, when Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, threatened to kill him, Elijah ran scared. All alone, he headed into the wilderness and prayed, “I have had enough, LORD. . . . Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died” (19:1-4).

Although God sent an angel to comfort and sustain Elijah, he still felt alone (vv.5-9). “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too” (v.10).

As feelings of isolation threatened to overwhelm Elijah, God made Himself known to His servant (vv.11-13), encouraging him to return to the work he’d been called to and reminding him he wasn’t alone (vv.14-21).

God gave Elijah renewed hope and purpose in his time of loneliness. He’s there for you in your loneliness too.

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan: Isaiah 53:1-12

Read Psalm 34:18 and consider how God draws close to us when we feel lonely and troubled. 
Do you feel lonely or do you know someone who feels that way? Why can you trust that God is aware of your situation and is with you?