Come out of your cave
Mark G. Schroeder
With his own eyes Elijah had seen the powerful hand of God at work (1 Kings 16:29–19:18). Elijah had delivered a message from God to Ahab, described as an Israelite king more wicked than all the kings before him. The prophet told Ahab that there would be no rain until Elijah gave the word. Then the rain stopped, just as God had said. While the drought and famine raged, God fed Elijah by ravens and sent him to the home of a widow in Zarephath where God miraculously took care of him. Then, in the most dramatic demonstration of God’s power, we find Elijah in his memorable confrontation with the 450 prophets of Baal. He prayed for God to consume the sacrifice with fire, and he saw with his own eyes how the true God sent fire and ended a contest that was no contest at all. God’s power is real.
How quickly Elijah forgot what his own eyes had seen and his experience had proven. When wicked queen Jezebel heard that her prophets of Baal had been put to death, she swore that she would see to it that Elijah would meet the same fate. Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. Then he huddled in a cave. While he was worried and fearful, God sent a great wind, a powerful earthquake, and a consuming fire. But God’s power was not in those things. Next came a gentle whisper—a whisper spoken by a God whose power is best demonstrated in the Word he speaks and in the promises he keeps.
We live in an amazing world created and sustained by the power of his Word. We receive the blessings of food and clothing and shelter from the hands of a gracious God. We know from experience the power of a God who with simple water coupled with his Word has shattered our hard and unbelieving hearts and replaced them with hearts of faith and trust in his promises. We have witnessed how the same powerful Word in the mouths of a handful of disciples has changed the world, bringing people of every language, tribe, nation, and people to know the salvation won by a crucified and risen Savior.
Yet, even though we have seen the power of God with our own eyes, we may find ourselves with Elijah, huddling in fear. We see a world set on fire by unbelieving enemies of the gospel. We see the church under attack and not seeming to be succeeding in fending off those attacks; in fact we see large segments of the Christian church crossing over to the side of the enemy. Congregations struggle, Christians fall away, families disintegrate, and mission zeal seems to falter.
That often makes us afraid, but there is no reason to fear. God comes to us, as he did to Elijah, with the same gentle whisper of his gospel promises. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “The gates of hell will not overcome my church.” “I am with you always.” “This gospel will be preached to the whole world.” “Behold, I am coming soon.”
Elijah listened to that gentle whisper. It was a whisper that may not have seemed dramatic and powerful, but it was a whisper that reminded Elijah that the power of God remains in his promises to his people. We can come out of the cave of our fears, just as Elijah did, with a steadfast trust and confidence, knowing that God’s power and God’s grace will come in his way and in his time.
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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 102, Number 6
Issue: June 2015
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