1 Kings 19:1-18 – Run and Hide
When I’m confused, unclear, bone tired; when wrong seems to be winning the day, and the world seems to have collectively lost its mind; when disappointment and sadness settle in like unwelcome houseguests; when hope seems in short supply and when I feel overwhelmed and helpless to know how or where or when to move
– where do I run? Where do I hide?
I run inward; to retreat, to hide, to ignore, to avoid, to pretend.
And this is rarely helpful or fruitful.
Elijah ran and hid – quite literally – in a cave in the desert, fearing for his life, even after the crazy, powerful display of your power on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal. I’m tempted to judge him. How could you be running in fear and complaining immediately after his awesome event, this incredible display of God’s power and presence?! But, if I’m honest, this is a picture of me – I’m very aware of that.
Even knowing what you’ve done in me and around me.
What does Elijah do? He rests, sleeps.
You tend to him physically in a very practical but very supernatural way.
An angel cooked him breakfast – twice!
He sleeps and he eats “for the journey is too great for you“.
And on the strength of the supernatural food, he walks 40 days and nights!
Where does he go?
He goes to “The mountain of God“ – Horeb.
He moves towards – physically, mentally, spiritually – the place where he knows God is.
V 9-11- And then a question. “What are you doing here Elijah?“
It’s a question of engagement from the all-knowing God.
He is allowing Elijah to identify and express his confusion and fear, frustration, and disappointment.
Elijah is genuinely and deeply sad and distressed about the rejection of God by his people. Much (not all) of his distress seems to be God-focused, kingdom-focused.
Is the church, the people of God, going to fade and die out?
Somehow, in all of his sadness and confusion, he has lost sight of who God is.
Evil seems to have overtaken good.
In his exhaustion and anxiety, he’s lost sight of his powerful, sovereign God.
Here is where I connect with Elijah.
He has not forsaken God.
He’s not shaking his fist or turning his back.
He is tired from the fight.
He’s tired of the fight, maybe. (I know I am)
He has let the eyes of his heart turn inward and outward.
And in doing so he has lost his upward view.
And in this state, Yahweh mercifully meets him with what he needs most; the reminder and assurance of His presence and His power.
And As deeply as Elijah is feeling, God “sees him and raises him“ in dramatic, undeniable, and unforgettable fashion.
(Each of these leaves humans completely out of control, helpless, terrified, powerless.)
But the Lord, Yahweh – who created earth, wind, and fire – and is, without saying the words directly, reminding
Elijah that he is far more powerful than any or all of them!
And yet, even so, “the Lord was not in them“.
Yahweh comes to Elijah – lost, distressed, tired, confused Elijah – (to you and me)…
…In a gentle whisper
In a word
In Word – Jesus.
Meek: power and control
Tender – saying his name, calling him back to life (“Talitha cum”, “Lazarus come out”)
Powerful – “be still!” “Rise and walk”
Teaching – “How much more…” “You’ve heard it said, but I say…”
Rebuking – “come out!“ “Get behind me“ “have I not told you…?“
Forgiving – “then neither do I condemn you“
With a word he reengages Elijah.
“What are you doing here? What do you want?“
For me, this question helps me sort through my emotions, to more deeply examine my heart.
What do I want, really? And why?
I want shalom – the peace that comes from God being God, as it should be.
I want Revelation 19-the wedding feast of the lamb.
I want Revelation 21 – glorious new Jerusalem! No more tears, sadness, brokenness.
That is what brings me to the cave, to God.
Deep dissatisfaction with the world.
Weariness from the battle.
A deep longing for Yahweh (for which I can only thank Yahweh)
15-21- God meets him, answers him and calls him into the task.
18 – “and Elijah, there are people who still follow me. You’ve just lost sight of that in your confusion and fear and hiding and exhaustion.
The battle will outlive you – it’s bigger than you. (so appoint and train successors, disciples to take your place.)