Beneath the Juniper Tree

Statue marking the area where Elijah slays priest of Baal. Mt. Carmel.

One of our stops today was of the top of Mt. Carmel. It was an incredible view of the valley and area of Galilee. Mt. Carmel is the mountain where Elijah challenges the priests of Baal. In the midst of a terrible drought, he confronts the priests because they worship a rain god who isn’t delivering. The story is famous and paints a picture of a sure prophet who even mocks the priests and then is very successful in bringing fire from heaven and showing the true God. (1 Kings 18)

What an incredible prophet, an instrument, a wildly profitable servant of God. However, the rest of the story is told in 1 Kings 19. The ruler of the land at the time was Jezebel and she is unhappy that Elijah outed the state religion and killed a bunch of its priests. She is out for the blood of Elijah and he is forced into hiding. This charismatic, strong prophet of chapter 18 becomes discouraged, depressed and withdraws. He finds a “juniper tree” sits under it and prays to die. He has had it. He clearly can’t do what the Lord has asked. He compares himself to his “fathers” and simply wants out.

The Lord sends an angel to feed and comfort Elijah but he remains under the juniper tree. He is still depressed and doesn’t want to even get out of bed and try. The angel comes a second time and tells him he needs food for his journey and to get moving. Elijah eats and then moves on.

As our guide pointed out today, we all sit under that juniper tree from time to time. It’s not bad. It’s not a sin. But, we must find the strength, even from the angels, to get up, get out from under the juniper tree and move on. Action is the key. We must leave the shade of our affliction and move on; one step at a time.

TRAVEL LOG: We have been very busy. We are now staying in a hotel next to the Sea of Galilee. We were in Jordan where we saw Petra (Indiana Jones!), Mt. Nebo, floated in the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Jershon (incredible ruins of a Roman city).

We crossed the border from Jordan to Israel and have seen  the spring where Gideon (and the Lord) reduced his army to 350, Mt. Carmel, Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, Jezereel Valley and others.

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5 Responses to Beneath the Juniper Tree

  1. Kathryn says:

    Troy, I have just read many of your blogs which I picked up from the article in the Mormon Times…took a while to get around to it! Your blogs from your Holy Land trip are especially meaningful. We were on the “blue bus” and arrived home May 16. It’s always great to read thoughts from someone else who experienced the same things we did.
    Kathryn in Virginia

  2. Pingback: A year ago today. A photo essay about the Holy Lands. « "The Things of My Soul"

  3. Lois Harwood says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and insights. I don’t know that I will ever see the Holy Land, so I am very appreciative of your allowing me to have the opportunity through you and also have the added blessing of your knowledge and thoughts about the sights you saw. I especially enjoyed the story about Elijah and how even he being the great prophet that he was became depressed and had to be reminded to “get up and keep going.” Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experiences with others. That is a great gift you give to us.

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