Obedience to God is not always comfortable. Elijah found himself in a fearful position after he’d acted in obedience to God, in the contest on Mount Carmel. After intense spiritual warfare, where God was triumphant, Elijah is fearful, and despairing when Jezebel threatens his life.
He does the common sense thing – in fear and despair he runs for his life into a desert place. He seems unable to believe that the God of the miracle was able to protect him in his hour of need. Discouragement had set in. Elijah concluded his work was fruitless and consequently his life wasn’t worth living. “I’ve had enough, Lord, take my life” (1 Kings 19:4).
After days of rest in the desert Elijah moves on to ‘the mountain of God’ where he spent the night in a cave and met with God. He is asked the same question twice, ‘What are you doing here?’ The question suggests Elijah had come to the mountain, not because God had sent him, but for his own misguided reasons.
Graciously God meets with Elijah in the cave and tells him, ‘Go back the way you came’. He’s assured that his work isn’t finished. It’s a specific work that only he can accomplish. In obedience to God he goes back the way he came.
What about you? Is God asking you the question, ‘What are you doing here?’ The answer of course should be, “Lord I’m here because it’s where You’ve placed me to be used by You.” However, you may feel discouraged, stuck or fearful, so you lack the motivation to be all out for the Lord. If so, is He saying to you, ‘Go back the way you came?’
Usually it’s not good to go back, but sometimes it’s necessary if we’re going to be free and effective in the present and the future. It’s important to go back to times when we made wrong choices, when we acted in disobedience instead of obedience to God; to times when instead of forgiving someone who hurt us we allowed bitterness to take root in our heart; to a time when through sorrow or loss we were overcome with hopelessness.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love will never leave me. Thank You that through Jesus there is a way back to Your heart, even when I’ve made mistakes. I ask You today to speak to my heart, and through the Holy Spirit show me any areas in my life that need to be put right with You. Amen.
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