Strong feelings. Difficult to admit.
We read in 1 Kings 18 that Elijah had just defeated all the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. He ran in the supernatural power of the Lord to Jezreel, where he heard that Jezebel was going to have him killed.
“And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life.” 1 Kings 19:3 (NASB)
He left his servant in Beersheba and ran into the wilderness, where he “came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.'”
Have you ever said anything like that?
God, enough already! It would just be easier for you to take me up to heaven right now! Then I wouldn’t have to deal with this pain.
While Elijah was sleeping under that juniper tree, God came.
No rebuke, no harsh words, no reminders of how clearly God had shown Himself strong just days ago. No.
He took up residence in a cave.
Yet still, no rebuke came. Instead, God’s gentle voice asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah replies, “ I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.
It took God’s gentle voice to draw Elijah out of that cave. God’s command to go wasn’t enough. Powerful wind wasn’t enough. Earthquake and fire weren’t either. But the sound of gentle blowing (another translation says “a gentle whisper”) drew Elijah of his complacency and self-pity.
“What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
Elijah emerges from the cave, possibly slightly more open to God’s leading, but still asking the same painful questions. If you continue to read 1 Kings 19, this is the point where God calls Elisha to succeed Elijah as prophet. Elijah no longer has to feel alone.