Elijah then journeyed deep into the wilderness, far away from any danger or threat to the place where God had met with Moses, Mt. Horeb, the “mountain of God.” Perhaps Elijah, like Moses, wanted a “meeting with God.” He needed to hear from God. He needed a touch from God. Have you ever felt that way? There are times in our lives when we feel like something is wrong, but are not even sure exactly what it is. We may have a sense of heaviness. The Bible says to, “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” I have found this to be helpful during those periods of my life. But we have to do something, to take action, to – “Put on the garment of praise.” When I start feeling a sense of “heaviness,” I begin to praise and thank God for his goodness, grace and mercy toward me – for saving me and giving me the gift of eternal life. I thank him for the many blessings He has given to me. I thank and praise Him for the things he has not given to me.
I Kings 19:9 – “Then the Lord spoke to him ans asked, “What are you doing here Elijah?” This is a very tender moment after one of the most powerful spiritual battles ever fought on earth. In this question is a great deal of meaning. Notice that:
- God asked it gently, not sarcastically, but as a loving father full of compassion for His child, for his faithful servant. Even the strongest, most powerful of God’s servants have moments of weakness and fear.
- Elijah was spent!
- He was emotionally spent. His life was threatened. Have you ever had anyone threaten to kill you? I have – at least four times – outside of the Rescue Mission twice, on a street corner while sharing the gospel with prostitutes and during an armed robbery in the early morning hours while delivering milk to a home on Sunnyview Lane in Billings.
- Elijah was spiritually spent. He had watched his friends and relatives die under the evil influence and wickedness of Jezebel. Like the Apostle Paul, concerning himself and his ministry, wrote much later, he “had fought the good fight and run the race.” He had been found faithful. He had not, “boxed the air.”
- Elijah was physically spent. He had not eaten right. And yet God had supernaturally sustained him by ravens and angels. He was exhausted. His life was not one of comfort and ease. His was a rugged life of hard service to God. Like Paul who was snake bitten, beaten, shipwrecked, ostracized, criticized for being weak and foolish, and all for the sake of the gospel, the good news of salvations through Jesus Christ.
Consider again the question – “What are you doing here…?”
- Here was a place of retreat, just after God and His servant had won a great victory!
- “Here” was a place of fear!
- “Here” was a place of doubt!
- “Here” was a place of intense discouragement!
- “Here” was apparently not “where” he was supposed to be!
Where are you? Are you, “here?”
If you are, then do as Elijah did. God told him to:
Verse 11 – “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, …” The “mountain” for you and me can be our “prayer closet.” Or anywhere we can be alone with our God.
God then sends three magnificent, powerful natural wonders:
- A “great and powerful wind” that tore the mountains and shattered the rocks.
- An earthquake
- A fire
But God was not in these things.
We always seem to look for God in the magnificent things, the showy things. But God chose to reveal himself to the discouraged prophet through a “gentle whisper.” When Elijah heard it he pulled his cloak over his face. Perhaps he was embarrassed by his behavior. Perhaps he did not want to face God. Maybe he understood he had run away.
Verse 13 – God repeats the question. Like Jesus repeated his question to Peter three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Then gave him a task, something very important to do. This repetition of the question was annoying or disturbing to Peter as I’m sure it is to us as well when the Lord tries to get our attention. It may also have been disturbing to Elijah when God repeated the question. Like Peter and Elijah, from what are you “running?” Have you, “pulled the cloak over your face,” (figuratively speaking)? In our day, we often refer to that sort of behavior as, “sticking your head in the sand,” (like an ostrich). When things go wrong, are you embarrassed before God because of your behavior? When things go not as planned, when dreams turn to nightmares, our first reaction is to run. Jesus told Peter not to run away from Him and His service, but instead, to run into greater service than ever before.
Are you “here?” Are you running from God’s warfare – to win the lost, to heal the sick, to bind up the wounded – to minister the love of Christ in this lost and dying world?
Notice from the account in scripture, that God is active. He understood and had compassion on the humanity of the prophet. He is our creator. He did not condemn Elijah for the what he was experiencing. Instead, God knew it was time for a change. He will now provide, (ordain), a replacement for Elijah. He will also now restore Elijah’s strength once again. Elijah, the servant of God was tired and worn out. God knew it was time for the prophet to, “pass the mantle,” – to let someone else take over and do the work of God.
Perhaps you are tired and feel worn out, but you haven’t really even entered the battle.
We must not run from the battle, the spiritual battles we face. We must run into them, armed with the spiritual weapons at our disposal, the truth of scripture, (God’s Word), the breastplate of righteousness, our feet shod with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God, (Ephesians, chapter six). And all this, of course, backed by “prayer, supplication and perseverance.”
“Here” is a spiritual place! So where are you? Are you where God wants you to be? Are you afraid of God and His demands on your life? Will you give your life to Him today? Will you allow God to use you to be a part of his battle on the earth? Will you love God and serve him?