“Finding God in a Cave”
I Kings 19:9
- In I Kings 18, we see Elijah killing 450 false prophets of Baal during a drought. The Old Testament law of Deuteronomy 13:1-5 commanded that false prophets were to be executed.
- The death of these false prophets came as punishment from God for the killing of the Lord’s prophets by Jezebel.
- Elijah prays for rain to end the drought and God honors his prayer.
- Jezebel then threatens Elijah with his life for killing her prophets.
- Elijah runs… I Kings 19:3…And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. REALLY? Why did this great prophet run?
- Why run when God is on your side, and great things are happening?
I. Hiding in a Cave
A) A man in a storm
- I Kings 19:9 (KJV) …And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
- Why was Elijah this great prophet hiding in a cave?
- This cave was a place where animals had stayed, birds lived there, and occasionally a hunter.
- All of us have faced danger or despair at one time or another. What did we do? Did we seek God’s wisdom and protection? Or did we hide like Elijah?
- Elijah had felt that he had become a failure to God and Israel by now becoming the hunted.
- How many times have we felt like a failure to God or our parents, spouse, children, church, boss at work, and ourselves?
- There is nothing wrong with being a failure.
- Failure brings growth!
- God brings storms in our life for many reasons…
- To prepare us for the future
- To see if we depend on Him for salvation from the storm.
- To reveal our weak points to us.
- To see if we will praise Him anyway.
- Elijah is now found Hiding in a cave.
B) Why hide in a cave?
- In verse 9 God asks Elijah “…What doest thou here, Elijah?”
- God knew why he was there, so why ask the question to Elijah?
- God wanted Elijah to see His condition. God wanted Elijah to realize that hiding in a cave is not the answer.
- People hid in different places for different reasons.
- Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden. Because they had disobeyed God, and sinned.
- David hid from Saul out of respect for Saul’s office who sought David’s life.
- Jonah hid in Tarshish to escape the will of God in his life to preach at Nineveh.
- Mary and Joseph hid baby Jesus from Herod who sought to destroy the King of all creation and life. They hid to protect our savior.
- If you are hiding in a cave… ask yourself … “Why?”
C) Elijah’s answer
- I Kings 9:10 (KJV)… And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
- The excuse here of Elijah for hiding in a cave is “…I have been very jealous for the LORD God”
- To be jealous is a Godly trait… Exodus 20:5…Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them (idols), nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.”
- Jealousy is a protective nature.
- Elijah looked at the Israelites as a rebellious group of ingrates that he didn’t want to be associated with. Elijah was protecting His LORD’s name from those who were destroying it.
- Paul used this incident in his message to the Romans in Romans 11:3… Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
- You see, Paul was hiding also! There were Jews who sought Paul’s life, there were Romans who sought Paul’s life. Paul would be in hiding for the rest of his life. WHY? For the gospel which Christ gave to him needed to be shared around the world to others hiding in their sin against a jealous God.
II. God Following Elijah
A) A hopeless man
- Back to our text chapter of I Kings 19, let us now look up at I Kings 19:4 …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 away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
- When all hope seemed to be lost, a powerful woman sought his life and now he is ready to give up.
- Suicide was out of the question as the Jews thought it to be an insult to God, so Elijah asked God to take his life.
- Several others have asked God to take their lives…
- Job in Job 6:8, 9
- Moses in Numbers 11:10-15
- Jeremiah in Jeremiah 20:14-18
- NOTE: while the prophet was out of God’s favor, he was never out of God’s sight!
- Many of us have and may still be out of God’s favor, but his grace leaves us still in His sight. God is not blind. He is Omniscient (All seeing).
- A hopeless man? Not hardly. It seemed hopeless. But as a child of God we need to realize that … “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”
III. God Pulls Elijah from the Cave
A) God forgives
- I Kings 19:11a… And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.
- To “stand” is to take a position of defense.
- I Kings 19:11b…And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake 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: 12) And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13) And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
- “And, behold, the LORD passed by,” lets us know that God is here or has been here. “He hath visited his people.”
- When God visits you, you will know it.
- In Elijah’s case here wind, earthquake, and fire precede the coming of the Lord.
- When we are hiding in a cave or hiding from God, He will let you know when it is time to move.
B) What are you doing in a cave?
- I Kings 19:13) And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
- God asked Elijah… “What are you doing in the cave?”
- Many of us are hiding in a cave. I call it “Putting on your chicken outfit.”
- You are not bold enough to take a stand against giants in the world so you hide in the cave, stay protected from any harm.
- God says to trust him. Stop making excuses as to why you are not doing what God has asked you to do.
- Husbands will say “I’m waiting on my wife.” Or the wife will say “I’m waiting on my husband.”
- Get out of the cave and go to God. Don’t wait on God to come to you.