“There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19: 9.
Recap: Elijah had just slaughtered the prophets of Baal, the false god of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Queen Jezebel was cruel and now she was after Elijah. She had every intention of avenging the lives of her slaughtered prophets. 1 Kings 19:3 says, “Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.”
Have you ever been there? Have you ever just had enough? Have you ever wondered what is the point of your life and your voice in the first place? When we look around, so often all we see is setbacks and failure. Elijah had just angered a powerful and evil woman. She had significant resources and countless ways to end his life. So Elijah looked at the possibilities and saw no way out. He was done.
“Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (1 Kings 19:3-4)
Later a voice asks “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah complains about the Israelites breaking their covenant with God and that he was the only prophet left. The Lord asks him to stand before Him on the holy mountain. A great wind (strong enough to split mountains and break rocks in pieces) came up. After that an earthquake, followed by a firestorm. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind or the earthquake or the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:12-13)
There will be times in our Christian walk when we will experience the Elijah-like shift from Mount Carmel to the cavern of Horeb – the overwhelming experience of God’s fiery power followed by times when we cannot feel God’s presence and are alone. God doesn’t speak until Elijah travels to Horeb, and then it isn’t comfort or guidance, it’s a question. “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Now God has a new command for him. “Go!” Go back into the world that is fraught with problems and full of reasons to fear. It is good you left it for a time. But just as I have been with you in the silence, I will be with you through all the storms ahead. Go, there’s work to be done. Go, don’t give up. I will be with you, and I will sustain you. Now go!
- Can you think of a time in your life when you were scared to do something you knew you had to do, but you went through with it anyway? How did you feel afterward?
- Knowing God and His Word allows us to face our fears with faith. Why? How can you do this in practical ways?