Running for his life from the followers of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, Elijah has been miraculously provided for in the wilderness by God, but he is still on the run and hides in a cave.
Bible Reading:1 Kings 19:9-13
Elijah went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
I guess there are times in all of our lives when things don’t go as we plan, and we just want to hide away and say, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ Maybe too we try to justify ourselves by saying ‘‘I’ve really tried to do my best’.
I think this is what was going on with Elijah when he ran away and hid in the cave, saying, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty’. And yet, even in his doubts and his depression, God meets with him and gently teaches him a lesson.
God starts by asking Elijah, ‘What are you doing here?’ Then, although he already knows the answer, God gives Elijah time and space to tell him what is going on.
Are there times when you end up in a place, physical, emotional, or spiritual, which is not where God wants you? How would you respond to the question ‘What are you doing here?’ What would you say to God?
Sent be God, Elijah then goes out of the cave and stands on the mountainside where he witnesses a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire. He then hears a gentle whisper, and realises that God is speaking to him, not through the wind, not through the earthquake, nor the fire, but through the gentle whisper.
How often do we listen to the clamour of all that is going on in the world around us, and wonder where God is in it all? How often do we then fail to hear the gentle whisper of God's voice, a voice which doesn’t judge, doesn’t criticise, doesn’t condemn, but a voice that gently encourages us by repeating the question ‘What are you doing here?’ and by giving us the opportunity to rediscover our place in the plans and purposes of God.
Thank you Lord that you never give up on me.
Help me to hear your gentle whisper amongst the clamour of life, encouraging me when life seems difficult and confusing.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind