In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah is on a journey. Under the nourishment of God, he travels forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. At that location, the Word of The Lord came to him asking, “What are you doing here?” Elijah answers, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” (vs 10). God then instructs Elijah to stand on the mountain before God and as Elijah did so “behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” (vs 11, 12) Then God asks the same question a second time, “What are you doing here?”, Elijah gives the same answer.
Why does God need to ask this question twice? Is God forgetful, did God not remember the first answer that Elijah gave? No, the only thing that God forgets is those sins of ours which He has forgiven (Jer 31:34). Was God challenging the veracity of Elijah’s first answer?
The two identical questions were not because God needed an answer, but to help Elijah see what he was focusing upon, and then to provide a change of perspective. Elijah saw an unchanged king and queen, he heard a death sentence upon his life, he felt the pain of standing alone, he sensed the lack of true spiritual commitment that was exemplified in the nation, but God had something else to focus upon. Instead of looking upon the circumstances in the immediate range of vision or what had happened in the past, God started to state God’s purpose and plan of what Elijah was to do next.
In a personal way, you might be asking, “What am I doing here?” You may be looking upon your situations and circumstances, you may be feeling your pain, your frustrations, and your disillusionments and wondering what is happening. Perhaps, like Elijah, you might feel like running or wishing you were not alive. God might be trying to get your attention as He did Elijah’s. The big issue is not what is happening around you or what happened in the past, but what are you supposed to be doing now? What is your purpose? God speaks to Elijah’s situation by saying, “Go …
anoint Hazael as king over Syria, … anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha you shall anoint as prophet in your place. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal” (1Kings 19:15-18)
We can personalize this message to Elijah as:
- Quit looking at the situations of the past, get up and start moving forward, “Go”
- Start doing something that ministers to those of other nations, broaden your horizon, increase the sphere of your ministry, “anoint Hazael as king over Syria”
- Minister to people that are near to yourself, “anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel”
- Start to mentor and train others so that they too can do the work of the ministry, perhaps even replacing yourself, “And Elisha you shall anoint as prophet in your place.”
- Realize that there are many others who are also walking with the Lord, you are not alone in your situation, ” I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal”
Lord, You challenge us to move ahead, give us your strength. Help us not to be overwhelmed by our situations, but to press into Your purposes for our lives.