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What Are You Doing Here?

Written by Pastor Dale Haynes on 15 October 2010.

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9. What are you doing here, Elijah? When I read this passage it brought to mind Genesis 3:9 where God asked Adam, “Where are you?” I know God knew where Adam was just as he knew what Elijah was doing in the cave. So why the question? Does God need information or clarification of facts from us? I think not. However, God’s questions do provide us with an opportunity to come clean, to confess. God’s questions should give us pause for self-reflection. Truly God’s questions are questions we should be asking ourselves but are often too distracted to ask. . In other words Elijah should have been asking himself, “what are you doing here Elijah”. Just as Adam should have asked himself, “where are you?” Such questions are needed for our redemption from our current estate.

More often than we would care to admit we the Saints of God find ourselves in places that are not of our inheritance. Places where God does not want us to be. Places where the devil takes delight in seeing us, places far away from the center of our calling. Elijah had come to such a place trying to flee from the epicenter of evil, hoping to hid from arguably the two most evil people that have ever lived, Jezebel and Ahab. These two were on a mission to destroy the nation of God to which Elijah was called as a prophet. Hence the question, “what are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah had become discouraged. He had been on fire for the Lord but it appeared it was all for naught. It seemed he was fighting a losing battle. God had not lived up to his expectation and totally and completely vanquished evil. He was disheartened, and the cave is his refuge.

Discouragement, sin, busyness and apathy are just a few of the things that can pull us away from our place of calling God’s center. While it is sad that many people have given up on God completely what is even sadder are those who have put God on the periphery. Like Elijah they have pulled away from their calling and have taken refuge in a cave. So the question to Elijah is a question for us all, especially those who find themselves hold up in caves of doubt, discouragement, despair, and apathy. WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE? That cave is no place for a child of God. Ask the question and reflect on what it was that caused the retreat in the first place. It is interesting to note that God’s answer to Elijah was not a rebuke, nor an explanation. In Elijah’s case God simply says, “Go return”. Return to your calling, go back and do what I have called you to do.

Beloved if you have found yourself in such a cave please know that you are not in a place of your inheritance. In fact the opposite may be true and you are away from God’s center of your calling. If so I pray that Elijah’s question will become your question and God’s answer to Elijah will become your answer and that in God’s strength and purpose you will, “Go return”. Return with a renewed trust in your Lord and Savior. •

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