1 Kings chapter 19 shows us a very relatable side of a famous prophet. Here we see Elijah, this mighty, bold, prophet who has just been used to turn Israel back to God, running in fear from the king’s wicked wife. He’s even come to the point of praying that God will just take his life. He doesn’t even want to live anymore! So now he’s in this cave and the Bible says the word of the Lord came to him. But the word wasn’t instruction or promise, but in a question. What are you doing here, Elijah?
We have to remember that when God asks a question, it isn’t because he doesn’t know the answer. It’s because he wants us to answer it. We will all give an account for what we’ve done. And Elijah now has to answer this question. What are you doing here? It wasn’t long ago that you outran a chariot in the spirit to the very place you ran from in fear. Elijah answers the Lord and then Elijah is told to go stand on the mountain in the very presence of the Lord because the Lord is about to pass by. This is getting good! The Lord is going to actually be right there. Before it was just his word, but now it’s his presence! I wonder what he’ll say to Elijah when he himself if right there to speak to him? So the Bible says that a strong, mighty wind comes that tears the mountains apart and shatters the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord wasn’t in the wind. Then there was an earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake, then there was fire, but the Lord wasn’t in the fire. And then, all of the sudden, a quietness and a still small voice… You just know God’s gonna say something good… Then God says… What are you doing here, Elijah?
Isn’t that something? God’s word was the same. His question was the same. What are you doing here? Elijah answers the same each time in honesty and God in return gives him further instruction to go back and to continue in obedience.
This is a story most of us can relate to. We have these amazing encounters with God and he provides for us and proves himself to us, and yet we find ourselves running and secluding ourselves when something hits a little too close to home. Is this where you’re at? If so then answer this question… What are you doing here? How did you get to where you are? Why are you in this position? Why aren’t you where you’re supposed to be? What are you doing here? Where is “here”? Have I forgotten how mighty you are, Lord? Have I forgotten that your spirit will not take me where you’re grace can’t keep me?
Our honest answer brings us into confession, which brings us into a position for forgiveness.
I love that the last thing before the still small voice was fire. God’s reminder of the chapter before when he proved himself by answering by fire. I believe we hear his voice better when we’re also reminded of who he is. We can do this by looking back at all he’s done in our lives. God is waiting to give you new instructions. And you may not experience a mighty wind, or earthquake, or fire, and you may not even hear a still small voice…. But guess what, the word of the Lord has already come to you. And his word is the same whether you are standing in his presence or hiding in a cave.