Elijah, the mighty man of God, lay hiding in a cave. This, after the Angel of the Lord found him sleeping beneath a broom tree to which he had shouted to the heavens, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” His despondency called for a gentle whisper of reassurance — anything from the God he served.
And the amazing thing is that these points of desperation occurred after this mighty man of God had defeated 450 of Baal’s prophets. by. him. self. Elijah knew the power of God. He knew the faithfulness of God. Yet he ran for his life because he feared a woman named Jezebel.
Interesting, isn’t it?
On a much smaller scale I can relate to this. Can you? Is your walk of faith “steady as she goes,” or is it a raucous ride of ups and downs, highs and lows, miracles and desperation? More than likely, it’s the latter.
It’s called being human.
I believe the Lord is kind and merciful in His understanding of our restless hearts.
Elijah was a prophet of many years who had served the Lord well. But now he was discouraged — despondent. God could have revealed Himself to Elijah with power as He did with Moses, but the Lord knew the heart of His servant.
The Lord called to Elijah:
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Honestly, I have often read this as though the Lord were being harsh with Elijah, but consider this: Is it possible these words were filled with compassion and concern? Was God saddened by the discouragement of His child?
Elijah responded with a bit of self-pity:
14 “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
But Elijah’s God still believed in him. Instead of rebuking Elijah, the Lord tenderly pulled him from his despair and gave him three new assignments. God wasn’t finished with him yet. God didn’t condemn Elijah for his frustration and lack of faith.
God renewed his purpose.
15 Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi[a] to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. *
I love the tenderness of God.
Have you become discouraged by the many trials life throws your way? Maybe, like Elijah, you’ve had enough and you’ve found yourself hiding in a cave thoroughly disconnected from everything and everyone. I want you to be still and listen.
Listen for that delicate whisper of your God asking, What are you doing here? Why are you so downcast and despondent? Don’t you know I am with you and I am for you? Go forward unafraid. I will go before you and hedge you in from behind. Look to Me and see the salvation of your God.
Our Mighty God loves you fiercely. Trust Him with Your restless heart.
Be still … be still and listen for His most gentle whisper of reassurance.
- 1 Kings 19, NLT