Even individuals of great courage and conviction have moments when they feel discouraged. After the euphoric victory on Mount Carmel, it seems that Elijah’s emotions fell. He was not indestructible. He had human weaknesses. “Elijah was a human being just like us” (Jas 5:17).
We might think that in the rush of victory, Elijah would have felt invincible. Instead, it seems, he felt exhausted. We might think Elijah would have welcomed Jezebel’s challenge as an opportunity to attack his enemy at its source. Instead, he retreated.
It may be that Elijah was facing a personal crisis of faith, identity and vision. Now that he had won his lifelong battle against the prophets of Baal, why was his life still in danger? Didn’t he deserve a little rest? Hadn’t he earned the right to retire in peace? Sometimes the thought of another battle, after just finishing one, is overwhelming.
We can only speculate about what actually fueled Elijah’s fears. But we can readily see that he was human. God met Elijah in the midst of fear and doubt, giving the frightened prophet comfort and rest.