Words by our Priest-in-Charge:
Focusing On The Circumstances Or On The Lord?
“There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9, ESV
Elijah had just witnessed and been involved in the humiliation of the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He had also just recently experienced the miracle of the rain storm.
Yet still Elijah was afraid of Jezebel and ran for his life. In spite of the great triumph in the trial on Mount Carmel and the dramatic demonstration that Elijah’s God is the Lord of heaven and earth and the source of Israel’s blessings, Jezebel had remained undaunted. She wasn’t making an idle threat, and her husband Ahab had shown an inability or an unwillingness to restrain her. Elijah knew that one of the main sources of Israel’s apostasy (Jezebel) was still a serious threat and that his life was in danger.
Elijah had allowed his attention to drift away from the Lord towards Jezebel, and his faith was weakened, even though he’d witnessed God do such marvelous miracles. No doubt Elijah’s faith in the Lord was strong, but this was a challenge that stretched him to the limits of his faith.
Yet the Lord miraculously had fed Elijah twice. But perhaps those kind of miracles were within Elijah’s experience and ‘comfort zone’. He was comfortable in his relationship with God in those areas and less so in other areas, like in the situation he was encountering with Jezebel.
Elijah escaped into a cave and God questioned Elijah “What are you doing here?” The answer Elijah gave was not a straight answer. Instead he gave a long explanation in an attempt to justify himself. In effect Elijah was saying “but Lord you have to understand what’s going on here. And on top of all that they are trying to kill me”.
Have we escaped into a cave? Are we trying to justify ourselves before God. Have we run away from events and circumstances to a safe pace of our own making?
There was a great and powerful wind. It wasn’t the Lord Himself but a manifestation of His power. There was an earthquake. This too wasn’t the Lord Himself but a manifestation of His power and Lordship over creation. There was a fire. And yet again this wasn’t the Lord Himself but a manifestation of His power and authority. In effect the Lord was saying to Elijah “actually, it’s Me that you should be concerned with, not anyone else”. Then there was a gentle whisper, and the Lord Himself was in the whisper. Elijah’s reaction was to go a little nearer to the Lord, a little nearer to true safety.
Have we become comfortable in our relationship with God so that the experiences we have of Him are commonplace? Is it time to allow the Lord to take our limit and stretch it, so that we can get closer to becoming all that He intends us to be? Can we discern the Lord and His voice in what is happening around us? The Lord treats us all individually. The Lord knows where our limits are and will stretch them to make us stronger and more able to cope if we let Him.
Adapted from Seeds of the Kingdom daily devotional by Ellel Ministries International