Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19)
Elijah was in a cave, he was hiding from Jezebel who as queen swore she would end his life. He waited to hear from God. After he heard the wind blow, there was silence. After he felt the earthquake, there was silence. After he saw the fire, there was silence.
Then in a whisper he heard, what are you doing here? The question didn’t come one time, it came twice. Incredibly the first time he heard the voice we read, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said unto him, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9). You can learn more about the prophets at Cleveland's Baptist Bible Institute.
Many see here the divine logos, the Word. Scripture calls the word He, i.e. Jesus, came to him and asked what he was doing in a cave. His assignment was elsewhere; his calling had not been fulfilled. Though he imagined defeat, the Lord appeared to show him a new vision, a victorious life that still was planned for him.
In his book, Balance: The Business-Life Connection, James A. Cusumano notes that only about 20% of people like their jobs. For those who have found career success, only about 20% have ‘truly satisfying marriages.’ Many like Elijah, have found themselves stuck in a cave, they have lost their bearing.
As Glenda Grunzweig offers some direction when she writes, “What you dream of yourself at age fourteen reflects your purest wish.”
Yet the Jezebels, the challenges of life, often distract us from our assignment, sometimes for a season, sometimes for years. The important thing is to distinguish the authentic Voice from the noise and fire.
As Mike Murdock shares, “Anything that is sown in the soil of the human mind will grow.” Seeds are designed to grow; it is our job to guard the soil in which they are planted. Let the seed of the question what are you doing here take root until you can find an authentic answer.
Once Elijah answers the question, he is taken to four locations. They are the locations of spiritual growth, the same places the Lord takes each of us. Tomorrow we will see the significance of Gilgal, the place where the past ceases to control us.