Yes, I’m only doing one part of a verse. But to be fair, I did warn you guys a really long time ago that I might do something like this.
Well…today, I’m doing something like this.
And keep in mind that this is Mount Horeb, we’re talking about – the place where God covenanted with His people, Israel, after redeeming them out of Egypt!
(NIV1984) 1 Kings 19:9b – “And the word of the LORD came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?'”
As if God didn’t know.
I think that’s one of the coolest things about God – that He always asks, even He already knows. He wants to hear it from us, He wants us to talk to Him, He wants us to be in a relationship with Him, so He asks and listens even though He already knows.
Also – again – even in this low point – Elijah appears not to want to die anymore, and it has been forty days and nights since then – but it is reassuring to notice that even after Elijah has failed God, the word of the LORD still comes to him and questions him and listens to him. God doesn’t stop desiring a relationship with Elijah because of his failure, and He doesn’t stop desiring a relationship with us because of our failures either. That’s why He sent Jesus.
And, of course, the words of the question – “What are you doing here, Elijah?” This could be taken a lot of different ways. Is Elijah not meant to be there and God is calling him out on it? Or is it just the place that Elijah has arrived at? Is it more asking why he’s in Mount Horeb as opposed to any other place? Or is it a comment on Elijah’s state of mind? I don’t know.
But that God would ask that – “What are you doing here?” – and that I think He still asks it of us now – what are we doing here? What are we doing and why here? And it’s not – He’s not asking what anybody else is doing. He’s asking what Elijah is doing. There’s no room for blame or slander here. And how did we get to where we are? It’s an intimate question and it calls us out.