When Life Caves In
A pastor friend of mine asked me to guest teach for him this past Sunday while he was away on family business. I asked where he was in Scripture and volunteered to just stay in his groove. When he said 1 Kings around 18, I told him that part of chapter 19 has long been one of my go-to passages for encouragement about hearing God’s voice, so it was perfect timing. I want to share part of that message with you here.
Elijah had just seen God call down fire from Heaven on Elijah’s signal and completely consume the altar, effectively showing up the 450 now miserable failures known as the prophets of Baal. Then Elijah oversaw their execution. I would call that a spiritual and strategic victory, fully from the hand of God, wouldn’t you?
Jezebel, the madam of the 450 prophets found out what Elijah had done and sent him a message that said, “Within the next 24 hours, I will do to you what you did to them!”
So, this superhero of a prophet does what? He runs! . . . “Wait! Elijah, didn’t you just call down fire from God and totally wipe out a cult in His name?” . . . “Yes, I did. . . . Now run!” . . . “But wait?! It’s just a threat sent by a scorned woman.” . . . “I know. Now run!”
Elijah becomes depressed, lonely, and apathetic. He lies down and says, “God, take me now. I’ve had enough.” God ignores that and feeds him.
Elijah then journeys on, wandering around for 40 days, ending up at what many theologians believe is the same “cleft of the rock” where Moses got a glimpse of God.
God asks, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” God knew what Elijah was doing, but just like with Adam, as a loving Father, He asked, “Why are you hiding? What are you doing?” Elijah vindicates himself and blames Israel for the issues.
God then tells him to come out of the cave, because He is going to pass by. (Sound familiar?) A powerful, tornadic wind blows across the face of the mountain, but no God. An earthquake rocks the mountain, but no God. Finally, a fire explodes out of nowhere, but again, no God. Then as nature quiets down, there in the cave, Elijah hears a gentle whisper and he knows it’s God. God then tells him to get back on the road, get back to work, that He will provide help, and show him 7,000 people who are on the same God-page.
This passage proves that Elijah was a normal, fully human man, just as you and me. No matter how amazing the miraculous, within minutes he lost his faith, became afraid, and ran. I relate. Do you?
Today, as we know Christ and His Spirit lives within us, we have both the encouragement and access from our Father to:
- Never hide again, no matter how bad we blow it.
- Trust our gut that amidst the noise of the world, we really know how to hear His voice. (Hint: It’s the quiet one amidst the chaos.)
- Realize we are never alone. Even in a cave filled with fear and failure.
Elijah and Elisha were walking along and talking, when suddenly there appeared between them a flaming chariot pulled by fiery horses. Right away, a strong wind took Elijah up into heaven. —2 Kings 2:11 CEV
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