1 Kings 19:9-18
19:9 At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
19:10 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
19:11 He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
19:12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
19:13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
19:14 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
19:15 Then the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.
19:16 Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.
19:17 Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill.
19:18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
There are a number of times where God had to clean house with the Israelites. Many people know of the time when God sent snakes to invade the complaining camp of Israelites (Numbers 21). However, the cleansing of idolaters in 1 Kings 19 is often forgotten. Yet, it is a powerful reminder that breaking the covenant with the Lord by worshiping idols was a serious offense. God had warned the Israelites more than a few dozen times by various prophets and judges. They persisted with their idol worship anyway. At this juncture in time, they were now seeking to put Elijah to death for boldly speaking against the idol worship and that was the last straw. God would have no more.
Many times when I read the OT I see God behaving like a parent. Always willing to forgive an offense but when pushed to the limit, He will be forced to punish His children. Yet, that is the last thing He wants. He takes no pleasure in punishing His children. Like any good parent He wants what is best for His children. As children we aught not test the patience of the Lord. We should walk in the way of His son, Jesus Christ. We are expected to abide in the new covenant that Jesus brought to us. Do we see the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives? If not, we should refocus ourselves.