Summary: God had provided us with an answer to every problem we face in this life. In this story of Elijah God gives us His remedy for overcoming depression.
In our last message, we were forced to leave Elijah in the depths of despair. We last saw the prophet sitting under a juniper tree, asking God to take his life. The mighty prophet of God is discouraged and depressed. He has been used mightily of the Lord and he had expected a great revival to come to the land. A revival in which the people of Israel would repent of their sins and turn back to God with all their hearts. But when Elijah was threatened by the wicked queen Jezebel, he felt as though he and his ministry were a failure. Therefore, he ran away from his position, his problem, and his people.
V. 8 TRAVELING TO THE PLACE OF GOD
Mount Horeb is the mountain of God it is the place where Moses received the 10 Commandments from God. And it’s here that Elijah has a powerful encounter with God that will totally change his perspective. When God speaks to us it’s a wonderful experience…and so it must have been for the prophet Elijah. But please note that God didn’t call Elijah to go to Mount Horeb. Even though Elijah was in a place of his own choosing, running away from the will of God for his life, still God met his needs! Notice especially the words of verse 7. Elijah is own a journey of his own choosing, headed to a destination of his own choosing, and still the Lord is concerned about meeting the prophet’s need! How many times has God done the same for you and me? We run from Him and His will for our lives and yet He is still faithful, ever present and He continues to allow His blessings to fall on our lives. Why does He do this? It is always an effort to bring us to the place of repentance.
V. 11-12 NOT IN THE EXTRADANARY
These extraordinarily loud and powerfully destructive acts of nature occur all around Elijah, but God wasn’t in the loud and freighting. Remember that Elijah ran from a loud and frightening woman named Jezebel. The wind, earthquake and fire were for the purpose of getting Elijah’s eyes off himself and on the Lord. Then after all the loud and frightening noise comes the gentle voice of God. This must have been a surprise to Elijah considering that he was in a deep bought with depression. . What the earthquake and the fire could not do, the small, still voice did: it touched Elijah’s heart! This was what Elijah needed. He needed to know that God isn’t interested in the great, striking things that impress men. He is interested in working in men’s hearts. Elijah was used to the remarkable. He was used to the astounding! After all, who else was fed by ravens? Who else saw God feed three people with a barrel and a jug of oil that never ran out? Who else had seen God raise someone from the dead? Who else had rebuked a king and lived? Who else had defied 450 Baal prophets, prayed fire down from Heaven and then killed the prophets? Elijah is used to the spectacular! God wants to teach him that it is God’s work in the heart of the individual that is vitally important! The power of God is in the Word of God and in the work of His Spirit in the hearts of men.
A Challenge - Elijah arrives on Mount Horeb. This mountain was a place of great significance for the children of Israel. Here, Moses had met God by a burning bush. Here, God had handed down His Law to the people of Israel. Perhaps Elijah went here so that he too might hear the voice of God. When he arrives, he goes into a caves and sits down to wait for God to speak. He is not disappointed! The Lord’s voice does come to the prophet in that dismal cave, and when the Lord speaks, it is to issue a challenge. He asks Elijah this question: "What doest thou here, Elijah?" This question is a rebuke of the prophet! What God is asking is this: "Elijah, what are you doing in a cave on Mount Horeb? Did I not send you to preach to my people Israel? Shouldn’t you be in Israel leading my people in a great revival? I didn’t call you to run to this cave and hide yourself away. I called you to stand before kings, to defy false gods and prophets and to be an example of righteousness for the people of Israel. So, Elijah, what are you doing here?" It was a call for Elijah to examine his life and his priorities. It was time for Elijah to come face to face with the fact that he had sinned against the Lord. Of course, Elijah replies by reminding the Lord of all he has done and how alone he is. Basically, Elijah is whining about what he thinks the problem is. By the way, if you must whine, resolve to do it only to the Lord. He can take it! It just drives other people crazy!