Jezreel was known as a city of chariots. It excelled in warfare because of its vast fleet of iron vehicles made for swift movement in battle. Chariots represent the strength of man. They signify the power to speed ahead with great agility, the ability to accomplish something through a powerful, dominating resource.
Today there is a "chariot lifestyle" — one of comfort and ease, where all our needs are provided. If we need something, we write a check for it. If we want to do something, we go ahead and do it.
To a Christian, the chariot lifestyle can have great appeal. In the world's standard of success, we see impressive "chariots" and "stallions." These are the means, the material wealth, that provide people with ease, security and comfort at all times.
But the servant of God does not seek those things primarily. Instead, he seeks to obey his Master's voice and pursue the concerns of His kingdom. The Christian learns early in his faith walk that by pursuing the Lord first, "all these things will be added to him" (Matthew 6:33).
This same believer sometimes may find himself without the needed resources to do certain things for his family. He doesn't see his calling or ministry being fulfilled, so he is tempted to think, "The resources are out there, and the world is using them to great effect but I don't have any of them. I need them to accomplish God's work. How can I get hold of them?"
Elijah knew better than to look to the world's resources. Imagine the scene as he addressed King Ahab. There stood the king, perched high in his brilliant chariot, towering over the lowly prophet. Yet Elijah spoke boldly to Ahab: “Prepare your chariot and go down” (1 Kings 18:44, ESV).
Next we read, "The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to . . . Jezreel" (1 Kings 18:46). God's man outran a chariot over a distance of many miles! How did Elijah accomplish this? The phrase "gathered up his garment" means, essentially, “to gird up your loins” which means that he prepared himself.
The apostle Paul tells us we have been called by God to run a race. Peter refers to this race also when he tells us to gird up the loins of our mind. He's saying we need to prepare ourselves for the contest by reinforcing our belief and trust in the Lord. When you see chariots in front of you carrying people swiftly toward their goals, don't despair. Do not be dismayed at the power they have and you lack. God has a different way for you. When you set your eyes on the Father and let His powerful hand come upon you, you too can outrun chariots.