The prophet Elijah had just gone through an extraordinary victory in 1 Kings 18 where he’d defeated all the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and proven to the nation that Yahweh is God. But immediately after his victory Queen Jezebel puts out a death warrant on Elijah. Instead of trusting the Lord again, Elijah runs. The Lord comes to him in the desert and gives him water and baked bread to sustain him.
However after eating and drinking the provision of the Lord, Elijah continues to run away for another forty days. He ends up on Mount Sinai sheltering in a cave when the Lord comes to him again. The question God asks him cuts to the heart: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Poor Elijah bumbles out a weak defence, telling God how all of God’s prophets have been killed and that he’s the only one left. Somewhere between Mount Carmel and Mount Sinai Elijah’s completely lost sight of his destiny in God. He somehow thinks this is the end of the line. Maybe he’s getting older and he doesn’t see how things can finish well. He can’t see or hear God’s plan for the future because he’s hiding in a cave. It isn’t that Elijah doesn’t love God or has fallen away from Him. He’s simply not where he should be.
God calls Elijah out of the cave to stand before Him on the mountain. A mighty windstorm comes - nothing. Then an earthquake - nothing. Next was a fire - nothing. Finally there’s ‘the sound of a gentle whisper’ – it’s the voice of God! As Elijah comes out of the cave he can hear Him again. Why does God speak in a whisper? Because He’s close! He’s come to set Elijah back on course, face to face, friend to friend. There’s still work for Elijah to do. God hasn’t finished with him. And God sets the record straight – there’s still 7,000 who haven’t bowed down to Baal in Israel.
Are you, like Elijah, hiding in a cave, not in the place you should be? The cave could represent many things for you. It could be fear that controls you, insecurity, rejection or despair. Maybe you’ve abandoned your first love and your devotional life. You could be nervous about the economy and you’ve stopped tithing and giving. Maybe you think that you can’t raise your children. He’s asking you today: “What are you doing here?” Today God is calling you to come out of the cave you’re in. He’s close and He wants to speak to you. He wants to open up His plans for your future and restore His promises to you. Provision has been made for your healing. Jesus wants to use you, whether you’ve been with Him for many years and seen amazing things, or whether you’ve only just begun your adventure with Him.
One of the plans God told Elijah on Mount Sinai was to find Elisha and anoint him to replace Elijah as the Lord’s prophet. Maybe in your ministry it’s time for the Lord to show you who’s to replace you. Let Jesus speak His word to you and obey Him. The Lord’s work doesn’t end with you, just as it didn’t with Elijah. If it’s time to find and prepare your replacement, get to work. All is well.
Elijah took his eyes off himself and faithfully fulfilled all the Lord had for him to do. If Elijah could have seen the final exit that God had in mind for him, when he went through those dark days of running and despair, how foolish he would have felt. Elijah’s departure in 2 Kings 2 with a chariot of fire coming to take him to heaven is one of the most spectacular in the whole Bible. We truly serve an amazing God, who comes to us in our weakness and restores us and our destiny. Determine today to finish magnificently, as Elijah did.
Prayer: Lord God, please forgive me for running away from my destiny and taking my eyes off You. I want to hear Your sweet voice again. Thank you that You’re close. Help me to return to You, heal me and help me to fulfill my destiny in all its fullness. Tell me clearly what I need to do, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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