Summary: Following Elijah’s greatest victories he goes into a deep depression and runs from the will of God. The Lord asks him a question we should all consider, "What doest thou here, Elijah?"
From the Desk of Rev. Toby Powers
Truth Baptist Church
WHAT DOEST THOU HERE?
Intro: Following Elijah’s remarkable battle with Ahab and Jezebel’s prophets on the Mount of Carmel, Elijah killed the prophets of Baal, according to the command of the Lord, and cast their carcasses in the river. Following this event, Jezebel heard about it, and she vowed to kill Elijah, prompting him to resort to the wilderness a three day’s journey, sit down under a juniper tree and wish to die. After a meal of angel’s food cake, he continued on to a cave where he was sitting when God’s voice came to him saying, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” (v. 9 & 13). This is the first example of this prophet being in the wrong place in the Bible.
I Kings 17:2-3, God said get thee hence to the brook, so he went and did according to the Word of the Lord (v. 5)
I Kings 17:9, God said arise and go to Zarephath, so Elijah arose and went (v. 10).
I Kings 18:1, God said go show thyself to Ahab, and Elijah went to show himself to Ahab (v. 2)
And to top it all off, the last verse (v. 46) of I Kings 18 states, “And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” Yet this man who had always obeyed the Lord, this man who when God said arise and go, arose and went, this man who had the hand of God on him, has gone sideways of the plan of God, is seeking to die, and is giving up hidden in a cave! That is why God asks him, “What does thou here, Elijah?” God did not say arise and go, but Elijah arose and went… without the touch of the Lord. WHAT DOEST THOU HERE?
I. I’M HERE BECAUSE SOMEBODY TALKED ABOUT ME: v. 1, Ahab went home and tattled on Elijah to ole Jezzie! How many people have hidden in a cave, quit doing anything, and gotten out of the will of God because somebody talked about them?
II. I’M HERE BECAUSE I WAS THREATENED: v. 2, “When he saw that…” v. 3. He faced down 850 false prophets with ice water in his veins, but the threat of Jezebel was more than he could bear. Chrstians are in hiding all over the world today because of threatening. We don’t pray in public; we don’t preach in public, we don’t witness to others because of the threat of potential repercussions. Some have been threatened by their employer. Some have been threatened by the government. Some have been threatened by society (lose the approval of others). We are sitting in the privacy of our caves in fear, and God is asking us, “WHAT DOEST THOU HERE?”
III. I’M HERE BECAUSE MY PARENTS WERE THIS WAY: v. 4, My parents were cowardly too. So many people use as the excuse for their misbehavior the way of their parents. But God did not ask Elijah about his father, and he is not asking you about your parents. The question is “What doest THOU here?”
IV. WHAT ARE YOU ASKING ME THAT FOR? NOBODY ELSE IS ANY BETTER: v. 10, 14, This is a common excuse I hear from people as to why they do anything. Everybody else is doing it. How many times have I heard it? All those people at the church are hypocrites. I live better than most of the people at church do. Well, that preacher down the road did so and so. That man I work with is a deacon of some church and he does this or that, but that does not give you excuse. But God had not asked him about ANYONE ELSE. He asked, "What does THOU here, ELIJAH?"
NOW NOTICE GOD’S RESPONSE:
I. SEND ANGELS TO SUSTAIN: v. 5-8, We would think that maybe God would scold Elijah, but God sends him food by the hands of angels to strengthen him.
II. SEND WONDERS TO CATCH HIS ATTENTION: v. 11-12, God did not speak in the wonders, but he got Elijah ready to listen with them. It is the same thing Jesus did with his miracles. It is the same thing that God does with blessings and miracles today. God shows himself in the thunder and lightning, the hurricanes and tornadoes, the rain and the wind, the stars and the moon, and in the blessings of health and prosperity, but he speaks to our hearts with his sweet Spirit.
III. SPOKE TO ELIJAH: v. 13, The question was, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” This is not my plan for you. I’m so glad that the Lord saw fit to speak to me the first time, but I am also glad that he continually speaks to me when I am off course!