I often speak and write about the useful guide for life that is represented in various holy texts, like the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible. They are useful for their revelations about the spiritual world, but also in sharing the life struggles of people across time and the universal wisdom from each story.
Ancient peoples did not have writing as a medium for common folk. Many stories were passed down through an oral tradition for many years until in various cultures, some form of documentation emerged to capture them. Oral traditions have the great benefit of capturing more of the texture of the times; the flavor of the circumstances and therefore weave rich tales for us to enjoy and from which to learn.
Such is the story of the prophet Elijah in the Hebrew scripture/Old Testament:
And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights… [1 Kings 19:3-8]
Here’s some context: Elijah had just shown the power of the God of Israel over the idol Ba’al and in the process had killed hundreds of the prophets of Ba’al, which didn’t make Queen Jezebel very happy. Metaphysically this is a lesson on the power of TRUTH over falsehoods, and it is a triumphant lesson but when we continue to read we see that even truth-telling has its risks as we see the great prophet Elijah running away from the threat of the Queen-of-False-Ideas (Jezebel).
He was so committed, and showed great skill in speaking truth to false prophets and power, and yet a short time later, he is running for his life and ready to give up; to roll over and die.
After a long day of running, he arrives at a broom tree where he laid down and fell asleep. He is awoken by someone touching him and when he wakes up he sees food cooking on a fire, and water to drink. This happens a 2nd time and enables him to have the strength he needs to continue the long journey ahead of him.
In the Bible it is noted that an “Angel of the Lord” came to him. We don’t see many of those around today in full biblical regalia, but all of us have been ministered to by Angels in our lives, and often we don’t realize it until we look back on the situation.
Sometimes when we are doing the right thing (speaking truth to false prophets) it can create trouble in our lives. It doesn’t usually rise to the level of being chased by an angry Queen, but it can feel that way if we have left a job, lost our standing in a group of our peers/colleagues, or have come under criticism for what we believe or support.
This story reminds us that no matter how dire the situation, it’s important not to lose sight of our past accomplishments, and to have faith in our vision, our Truth. Angels are all around us who are not only able but, willing to help us. When we quiet our mind and let go of the negative energy of our despair they will show up and give us what we need for our continued forward journey.
It’s easy to become consumed with fear, anxiety and negativity. This ancient lesson reminds us to calm down and know that we are provided, always and in all ways.
When we are walking a path of Light, no matter how difficult it may seem; when we stay grounded in what we know is right for us, are impeccable in our word and deeds; we can be assured that there are Angels ever-present who can and will help us along the way.
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