“What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9 & 13
Elijah, one of the greatest and most renowned prophets in the history of Israel, ran into the wilderness and away from his God-given mission, because Queen Jezebel had threatened to kill him. Even though God had worked powerfully throughout Elijah’s life, when the queen threatened his life, he ran for the hills in fear. Elijah ran to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God—Mount Sinai—the very mountain upon which God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
On the mountaintop, God spoke to Elijah saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then, just to ensure that God had Elijah’s attention, God had wind and an earthquake and fire blast the mountainside. After that fantastic display, God asked again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” That was God’s way of saying, “You shouldn’t be here.” God continued and said, “Go, return on your way . . . you shall anoint Hazael as king, . . . you shall anoint Jehu . . . as king . . . ; and you shall anoint Elisha . . . as prophet in your place.” That was God’s way of saying, “You might be done, Elijah, but I’ve just begun. You might be down, but don’t ever count me out. You may have run away in fear, but I am going to send you back in faith.”
There are times when we are tempted to run away from distressing situations—a strained relationship, a difficult conversation, a challenge that seems too daunting for us to handle. Sometimes, even though we are reluctant to admit it, we feel lonely and afraid. Through this story, God wants you to know that you may be down but you are not out. God has more work to do with you and through you. It is time for you to head back into the fray.
What challenges are you tempted to flee from that God wants you to return to?
Lord, I confess that there are times when fear prompts me to flee. There are moments when I feel like I am bearing the burdens of life alone, and I am afraid I will be undone by them. Help me to shed my fear, and allow me to reenter the fray with the faith that You will never abandon me to face my fears alone. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.