Elijah was emotionally spent. He had just proven to the people of Israel that God was much greater than Baal, which was a miracle for Elijah and a triumph for God. Unfortunately, Elijah was rewarded with threats and a warrant on his life by the powerful and dangerous Queen Jezebel. He was afraid, and began to run.
Eventually, when he stopped running, the Lord came to him. The Lord offered him food and drink, and encouraged him to travel for forty days and nights to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. The moment Elijah arrived, he fell into a deep sleep. He was awakened in the morning by the Lord with the question:
“What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah’s response was as you would expect, defending his fear: I was zealous for you, but now my life is threatened and I am all alone!
Once more the Lord asked him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
I understand where Elijah is coming from. Fear has been my companion for many years.
For me, fear:
– brings isolation.
-leads to anger.
-feeds into my feelings of worthlessness and self-pity.
-puts any of the fruit of the Spirit within me on hold.
-is simply, a nasty companion.
All in all, fear is often– debilitating.
My deliverance from the destructive forces of fear came after a period of my life when I was wholly immersed in the study of the Bible. It was through this study that I came to know God for myself. Not the God that was frequently portrayed to me. I did not find a God who was arbitrary, punishing, and waiting to pounce on me, a sinner, for any trace of wrongdoing. Instead, I found a God who was loving, caring, who pleads with his people to follow Him, and who oversees His people as a mother hen watches over her peeps.
As the realization of who God really was began to permeate into my soul, the obsessive fear began to steadily melt away.
The God I found in my studies was much like the God presented in this story of Elijah in 1 Kings. God does not scold Elijah; He does not condemn him in any way. Rather God ministers to Elijah: feeding him and encouraging him to take some rest. God invites Elijah to say what is on his mind, and Elijah does not hold back.
God offers Elijah a glimpse of Himself. He is not in the powerful wind or the earthquake, but God comes to Elijah as a “gentle whisper.”
This is the God, that heals Elijah’s fear.
This is the God I know.
At the end of this story, God gives Elijah exactly what he needs – faithful people who will come alongside Elijah in the work that God has called him to do. YAHWEH YIREH: God who supplies our needs.
Fear has not totally vanished from my life, it is my thorn in the flesh. Sometimes I sense God saying to me in my fearful moments, “What are you doing here, Becky?” At those times, I need to sit and think about the God I know. The God who is loving and caring, and who, I believe, desires to meet my needs.
The next time you, like Elijah, are defeated in mind and spirit, you are discouraged and frightened, and/or you are overwhelmed to the point of despair, try pausing for a time.
Get some rest.
Then try reading 1 Kings 19, and imagine God saying to you, “What are you doing here?” Tell Him exactly what is going on. Let Him come to you in this place and allow Him to show you who He really is.
Watch for what He does.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10