"What are you doing here?" (1 Kings 19)
Elijah in distress
Elijah is going through the worst time of his life. He just defeated hundreds of Baal prophets by pulling off one of the most spectacular miraculous acts in ancient times. But did people listen to him and return to God? No. Did King Ahab acknowledge him and his work? No. What's worst, now the evil queen Jezebel was plotting to kill him. Read 1 Kings Chapter 19.
Which emotion stands out to you most while you're reading the story? Anger Frustration Confusion Indifference Fear Insecurity Uncertainty Other: ____________
Verse 4: “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Elijah was comparing himself with his predecessors, a very human thing to do. What's wrong with comparing with other people? How had this comparison affected Elijah?
What did the angel of the Lord tell Elijah to do first? It's probably not what we'd expect God to say to us when we're in trouble! He even said it twice. Why is this important before other things?
Verse 9, 13: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” As Tim Keller once said, God never asks questions for information. He asks questions for our own sake. Why do you think God asked Elijah this question twice? In the Bible, we don't know what tone God was using when he asked, "What are you doing here?" What tone do you think God was speaking in? (Soft and gentle? Shocked? Judgemental? Or like policeman catching a criminal redhanded?) Why do you think so?
Verse 10, 14: Read Elijah's replies in verses 10 and 14.
What reasons did Elijah give for his frustration and depression? Is his perspective an accurate view of reality? (Note Elijah had already been told very clearly that he was not the only one left. See Chapter 18)
How often do we have a similar perspective?
Verses 11-13, 15-18
How did God deal with the depressed Elijah?
What can we learn about God in His response to Elijah?
In the end, it's not about Elijah, it's all about God and His grand scheme for His people. None of the troubles, dangers, injustices, fears that Elijah was experiencing could change God's plan and His provision for His people. This is not to deny or invalidate all the pain and suffering Elijah was going through. God did not tell Elijah how he should or should not feel. Instead, God continued to provide for Elijah, speak into his life, opened his eyes to see God's work in Elijah's life and human history which He had already begun.