“Then he (Elijah) came to a cave and lodged there (Mt. Horeb); and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and God said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ Elijah answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’” 1Kings 19:9-10
For over three years Elijah had only gone where God specifically told him to go, but now he has run to Mt. Horeb on his own initiative. Horeb means “desolation,” and Elijah was in a desolate place, not just geographically, but spiritually. God never sends us to a cave of desolation, but He will follow us when we end up there.
Have you ever been in this cave? Feeling isolated in your faith and feeling like all you have done is in vain? No one is getting saved; no one cares about God; in fact, they’re getting worse right in front of your eyes. Have you ever felt like you’ve been diligent to do your part, but God has seemingly dropped the ball? How do we get out of the cave of desolation?
- Get a fresh word from God. If we aren’t hearing God it is easy to live under the voice of frustration, condemnation, despair, or anxiety. God took Elijah out on a ledge and spoke to him again in a gentle whisper. We all need to hear that gentle whisper of God’s love and grace toward us again.
- Get a fresh perspective. God tells Elijah that there are 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed down to Baal. (1Kings 19:18) Elijah’s ministry has been way more fruitful than he knew. He isn’t alone, there are a lot of people serving God with him, praying for him, and wanting the same revival he wants. The kingdom of God isn’t losing, it’s going forward, no matter how you and I may feel today.
- Get a fresh assignment. The Lord says, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness…and you shall anoint Hazael…and Jehu…and Elisha….” (1Kings 19:15-16) God will take care of the big plan, but Elijah needs to keep doing his part. It’s as if God is saying: “You don’t have to change the whole world, just be filled with My Spirit and go to the people I send you to one at a time.”