Thursday, April 6, 2017

What Doest Thou Here, Elijah?


“What doest thou here, Elijah?” I Kings 19:9

Dear Congregation,

            Many are at least generally familiar with the ministry of the prophet Elijah that begins in I Kings chapter 17. Elijah, the mysterious rough hewn man of God who appears out of nowhere to face the evil King Ahab and declare God’s Word. We are aware of his boldness, we are aware of his faith, we are aware of his triumphs. But when we think more deeply we also remember some of his weaknesses. Here in I Kings chapter 19 we see Elijah running away for his life and despairing that he is all alone. Some background for this is needed.

            In I kings chapter 18, Elijah is on Mount Carmel, and by the power of God calls down fire from heaven to defeat and show up the prophets of Baal. The account is a magnificent visible and tangible display of God’s reality and power. It has often been asked how Elijah could run in fear after he had just been a participant in something so magnificent. Some have suggested that Elijah had very high expectations from this display. It has been noted that Elijah may have expected all of the witnesses and people of Israel to turn to God in repentance and faith and give up their wickedness and idolatry. After all, such an outreach must garner results right? Yet, this was not the case. No one cared, no one sought the Lord as a result. It was a huge let down for Elijah and now Jezebel threatens his life. He runs, he despairs, he is exhausted.

            Yet, God has not abandoned His servant and sends an angel to comfort and minister to the broken down Elijah. God gives him food for physical strength, encouraging words for mental strength, and Elijah goes to seek God’s presence for spiritual strength. Many of us often feel alone or let down like Elijah in this passage. Many of us create goals and standards that are not necessarily of God and then are depressed by personal disappointment. We may want to run away and just give up. But be of good cheer, God has the power and strength to overcome your disappointment. Take care for your physical and mental health for a quality life, but be sure to take care of your spiritual life. Elijah goes to Mount Sinai, possibly to the same cleft of the rock where Moses was when he saw God’s backside. This puts life and ministry in perspective. What doest thou here, Elijah? I have reserved 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Seek your God, seek His grace, seek His glory, rest in Him and in His provision. Life by His Word not your own manufactured expectations and wants. God will send the encouragement, the right perspective and the reality of His constant presence and provision. You are not alone, there are more with you than be with them. What doest thou here? God has grace and purpose for you even here. Trust and walk with Him!
In Christ,

Pastor Basile