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Enemy at the Gates

Enemy at the Gates – What are you doing here? (1 Kings 19:9)

Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 19-20

Today’s Reflection: 1 Kings 19:9

There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah had just achieved a great victory for God.  On Mount Carmel, he had single-handedly faced the wicked King Ahab and hundreds of prophets of the pagan god Baal and proven that the God of Israel was the one true God in spectacular fashion (1 Kings 18).  But a threat from the kings even more wicked wife Jezebel erased this from Elijah’s mind and set him to running.  He ran from Israel.  He ran through Judah.  He ran into the wilderness (where he was fed by angels).  He settled in a cave, and there God found him and asked him a provocative question: What are you doing here, Elijah?

Has God ever asked you, ‘what are you doing here?’

Every servant of God has moments of glory, moments where they represent Him faithfully and show His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His power, His patience, His strength, His wisdom.  And these moments of glorifying God, of lifting Him up before others are our living witness, our opportunity to share the truth of who God is and what He has done for us.

And there’s nothing the enemy hates more.  It is at times like these that satan attacks, and he knows exactly where to strike.  For Elijah, who had seen his fellow prophets slaughtered for their faith, threatening his life was his weak point, and the enemy used Jezebel to hit him there.  And it worked.  Elijah ran.  At exactly the point when he should have been witnessing and testifying before Israel, Elijah was cowering in a cave.

We all have our weak point—fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of physical pain for you or your loved ones, fear of loss of reputation or standing in your community.   Whatever yours is, you can guarantee that when you accomplish something that glorifies God, no matter how great or small it may be, shortly thereafter the enemy will hit you right where it hurts you the most.

His aim is to threaten you, to terrify you, and most importantly to neutralize you.  If he can make you run, he can take you out of the game, take you away from where you’re supposed to be.  He can take you away from where God needs you to be, both for your own sake as well as for His glory.

Praise be to God that whenever we run—whether it’s Adam and Eve hiding from God in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8-9), or Peter returning to his fishing nets after denying Jesus (John 21:4-19)—God comes to find us, and to ask us that provocative question.  Elijah came away from his encounter with God encouraged and returned to where he belonged.  When God asks you, what are you doing here, what will your response be?

Genesis 3:8-9 – 8) And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9) But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

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