Pastor Steve Ellison
Have you ever experienced a great victory in your life, spiritual or otherwise? You feel so good. Everything looks better, feels better, tastes better. Then it happens. One sad sack enters the room and tells you how bad everything is. One critic points out a flaw. One well meaning but misguided soul says, “but….”. You know what I’m talking about. All it takes is one nay-sayer. It happened to Elijah, only much worse.
Elijah was flying about as high as a man could be. All by himself, he faced down King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and their 450 false prophets of Baal. God responded to Elijah’s pleas in as decisive and dramatic fashion as man has ever seen. Fire fell from heaven. God’s response to Elijah caused the children of Israel to fall on their faces and repeatedly proclaim that Jehovah is God. At Elijah’s command the people rose up and killed all 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah prayed again and God sent a mighty rainstorm ending a three-year nationwide drought. The power of God fell on Elijah and he outran King Ahab’s horse drawn chariot all the back to the palace at Jezreel which was at least 17 miles away, and maybe as much as 25 miles away. Have you ever had a day like that? I didn’t think so. But you have experienced blessing and victory. You know what that is like.
Elijah arrived at the palace in Jezreel and there she was, Jezebel, the wicked queen. Jezebel threatened to kill him. Jezebel had the soldiers at her disposal to have Elijah killed. Have you ever encountered a threat like that? I didn’t think so. But you have had the air let out of your balloon. You know what it is like. Jezebel could have easily carried out her threat. Still, what could Elijah been thinking? He had just experienced first-hand, up close and personal, the power of God. Surely God had acted to vindicate His own Great Name, but in the process He had certainly validated Elijah. God had revealed to the whole nation, that Elijah was His spokesman. Yet, when Jezebel hissed, Elijah became afraid and ran. What happened to Elijah? What could cause him to tuck tail and run? Why would he fear some wicked queen when Almighty God was with him?
Elijah ran for forty plus days. He wound up at Mt. Sinai. 1 Kings 19 tells us that while Elijah was at Mt. Sinai, God asked him not once but twice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” I don’t think God was at all concerned with his location, except for how it related to his state of mind, i.e. his faith. Elijah gave the same word-for-word answer both times. Elijah told God how good Elijah was, how bad the rest of the people were, that he was all alone, and that his life was in danger. None of what Elijah said was false. His problem was that he never mentioned God at all. He did not consider the power of God and the love of God. Have you ever faced discouragement and fear and exhaustion? Have you ever forgotten to consider the help available to you from the God who has already shown Himself mighty on your behalf? Have you ever been where Elijah was? I thought you had. At that point, God says to you and me, “What are you doing here?”
When the critic criticizes, when we feel all alone, we ought to turn to God because no one else has the authority and the ability to help us. No one else loves us enough to help us. Not turning to Him is a slam against His character. Is He not wise enough? Does He not have the power to help? Of course He does! Does He not love you enough to help? Of course He does!