“Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your ]life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and 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.” (I Kings 19:1-4)
“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. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:11-13)
Elijah was one of the most powerful prophets of all time. He is coming again in the Great Tribulation as one of the two witnesses who will wreak havoc on the earth during that time. He was a fiery prophet who was fearless in proclaiming the Word of God to wicked rulers like King Ahab of Israel. King Ahab was one of the most wicked kings of Israel and his wife made him seem like a choirboy. She was a witch of the highest order. In fact, Jezebel is synonymous with evil and witchcraft.
Elijah showed the entire nation of Israel who God is. The mighty miracle of fire coming from heaven to consume a sacrifice drenched in water convinced the nation that God is greater than Baal. Elijah went further than that by killing all four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal.
Jezebel issued a threat to Elijah that she was going to kill him for his actions that day. What did Elijah do? Terror gripped him and he ran for his life as fast as he could. Hardly the picture of a fearless prophet. But before we look down on Elijah, how many times have we let a mountain defeat us and have us ready to die?
After Elijah quit running, he sat down at a brook and told God he was ready to die. “Take me home Lord!” was his cry. How many times have we been there? Ready to just go home, life is too hard to go on. Did God oblige him? NO, He didn’t. Instead, He gave him some instructions. God wasn’t upset with Elijah. He is acquainted with our frailties.
The Lord issued the greatest blessing anyone could have! His presence. That’s right, God told Elijah to go and stand on a mountain “before the Lord.” Elijah went to the presence of God in the middle of his defeat. In the middle of the ash heap of defeat.
Elijah follows God’s instructions and goes to the mountain and waits on the Lord. Suddenly there was a wind so powerful it was rending the mountains. The rocks were broken up. Then there was an earthquake. Then a great fire broke out. Surely, God would be in such power right? He was not in any of these powerful things. Then a gentle wind blew. When Elijah saw that all the power had gone and a gentle wind was blowing he left the safety of the cave and stood in the entrance.
Then the voice of the Lord spoke one sentence to him. He said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah had left his post as the prophet of Israel. He ran away from his calling. Here the Lord asks that simple question. From there, He strengthened Elijah. He pulled him up, dusted him off and sent him back to his position to complete his mission. He diffused Jezebel’s vow and Elijah went on to confront Ahab and eventually declared rain in Israel. Elijah finished what God sent him to do.
Elijah went on to pass his prophetic mantle to Elisha and God blessed him even more by sending His chariot of fire to translate Elijah to heaven without dying! Talk about going out with a bang!
We can take a lesson from Elijah. In the middle of our defeat, when it seems all is lost; He is there in the middle of the chaos, the misery, and the shame. He says, “what are you doing here, _______? We can put our name in the blank. The question still remains. Just because you are defeated today, doesn’t mean your race is over. It doesn’t mean God is finished with your life.
Go to the mountain of God’s presence and wait for the gentle breeze of His Spirit to blow into your defeat. Let Him strengthen you and send you back to your purpose. Greater things awaited Elijah when he left the cave. He even outran Ahab’s chariot! Through Elijah’s defeat, God brought rain to Israel, Elisha received a double-portion and did mightier works than Elijah. And through Elijah’s defeat, God is still going to use him in the Great Tribulation to fulfill his destiny.
Our defeat doesn’t stop God’s purposes for us. He doesn’t get exasperated or full of despair because we cave in. No! He’s right there to pick us up, dust us off and send us back into our destiny to do great and mighty things for Him.
Beloved, be encouraged today, to hope in the Lord in the middle of your defeat. Look up to the Author and Finisher of your faith. To the One who loves you more than anyone else. In the middle of your defeat, what do you have to lose?
Don’t know Him?