1 Kings 19:12-13
“And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of an intense silence. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
If you recall, this is the second time the Lord asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” It is a profound question that cuts to the heart of Elijah’s situation.
God is asking: What are you doing here in the desert of Sinai? In this cave? In this emotional condition? In this spiritual condition? Israel is being devastated by the rule of an evil king and his evil wife, and here you are — one of my prophets — huddled and despondent in a cave in the desert of Sinai. What are you doing?
God is saying: This isn’t where I called you to be, and this isn’t who I called you to be. I didn’t give you my Spirit so that you could wallow in fear and self-pity in the face of difficult and dangerous circumstances. I gave you my Spirit so that you could stand strong in the face of the enemy … so that you could stand strong in the face of any situation.
I am reminded of a brief passage at the end of Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, where the apostle admonishes the Corinthian believers (and us) with five very brief and direct commands: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (I Corinthians 16.13-14)
This brief passage is a great summary of the kind of life to which the Lord God calls us. Paul is telling the Corinthians, “There is a way I want you to respond to the challenges and opportunities of life. There is a way I want you to live and work every day. Here it is ...”
There is a strong military feel to the command in 1 Corinthians 16. These are directives to soldiers who are fighting a battle. It’s as if Paul is saying, “Follow these commands and you will defeat the enemy. You will win. Neglect these commands and the enemy will defeat you. You will lose.”
The enemy is both internal and external. We must fight against the external enemies who would seek to deceive and defeat us, and we must fight against the internal enemies of our own bad habits and sinful impulses.
This was certainly true for Elijah. His real enemy wasn’t Jezebel; his real enemy was his own fear and lack of faith. How does this apply to your life? In what areas of your life does fear have a grip on you?
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6.11-12)
The Lord is calling.