Reading through the Bible together

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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The story of Elijah takes a surprising twist.  And for my sake – I’m glad it does.  For here we are reminded that Elijah wasn’t all ‘hero’; he was human too.It’s almost beyond belief to think that he who had stood alone and fearless before the king of Israel and four hundred and fifty false prophets, to think that he of all people should crumble and run at the word of one angry woman – it’s just pitiful!  Yet while we may balk at the cowardice of God’s prophet, sadly we too are often caught reacting to life’s trials in exactly the same way.  Has it ever happened to you?  Someone offends you and so you run and want out?  I wonder as I read this story, how many of God’s people are sitting on the sidelines because a Jezebel has troubled them? 

After running for 40 days into the wilderness, Elijah finds himself cowering in a cave, when suddenly God speaks to him, and He asks him a question that is pregnant with meaning.  What are you doing here, Elijah?  With one solitary question, God lays bare the weakness and want of Elijah’s predicament.  Up until this moment, everything Elijah had done and everywhere he’d gone, the Word of God had given him his mandate.  But God hadn’t brought him here.  Spiritual caves are popular places for Christians, even Adventist Christians, to hide!  There’s the cave of bigotry, prejudice, pride and the dark, cold cave of unconfessed sin to name a few. 

Elijah’s response is telling.  For forty days, this is what he has been rehearsing, until he has reached a point where he has so maximized his problems that he has minimized God.  But God hadn’t given up on Elijah.  He teaches him a lesson – unlike any lesson you or I will ever learn at a university, even an Adventist University. God makes nature the preacher and asks Elijah: “Can I not be trusted to protect your life and bless your ministry?”  It was a question that might be translated into these eternal words, “Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts.”  And once the lesson is taught, God sends Elijah back to work.  Because, while Elijah had traveled in fear for 40 days to tell God he was the only spiritual soldier left, God wanted Elijah to know that there were 7,000 others out there, still marching to the drumbeat of eternity!  Amen! 

"What are you doing here?" is a good question for us as well.  It is a question we must answer personally and corporately as a church.  We are God’s modern day Elijah’s, with an Elijah message that must reach the world.  Unfortunately, Elijah had begged God to take his life while running from Jezebel, the one person who would have gladly taken his life. And God could have answered his prayer by letting him die in the dessert; but instead, God took care of Jezebel and later took Elijah to heaven without ever seeing death.  One day soon, the Three Angels Messages will triumph and all those who have stood faithfully at their post of duty will triumph with it.  God still has His faithful ones out there, so why are we hiding in the cave of do-nothing? 


Charissa Fong
Graduate Student
Sydney, Australia