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  • The Cave

    1 posts, 1 voices, 684 views, started Sep 9, 2011

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 by Denise Richardson

    • Diamond

      "...he came to a cave and lodged in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"  1 Kings 18:9 (Amplified version)

      It can happen after a time of mountaintop spiritual experiences or in the midst of grief, unanswered prayer or personal failure. In Elijah's case, much of that had happened. He had seen God do miraculous things that validated his ministry, but he is now exhausted. After hearing of threats on his life, Elijah runs over 100 miles into the desert where he sits under a tree asking God to take his life. He has had enough. But God is not finished living in and through Elijah and so he is revived with rest and food from the hand of an angel. Then, "Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb."

      Surely now after this very personal ministration by an angel, Elijah is ready for a new ministry beginning. Instead we find him in a cave where God asks the haunting question, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" Wasn't the presence of an angel enough to assure Elijah that God had been—and would continue to be—faithful?

      Elijah is human just like we are. He is too tired, too afraid, too spent to go on. Perhaps he wonders if that angel was just a dream. Perhaps he wonders if his ministry is over. Perhaps he has forgotten the promises of God. And so he finds a cave.

      God will beautifully reveal Himself to Elijah in the gentlest of whispers, but then He begins His new message with these simple words: "Go back the way you came..." Get out of the cave, retrace your steps, do the job I have called you to do.

      While caves can be dark and forbidding, they can also seem safe. Away from the elements, far from the people who threaten (or merely disturb) us. Distant from the unending call of responsibilities. But eventually we will hear God's question: "What are you doing here?" And often the answer is the same as the one spoken to Elijah: "Go back the way you came."

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