In the text, we observe God’s servant, Elijah, at a time when his faith got weak. He had just enjoyed a most wonderful victory for God (I Kings 18). But, very quickly, things changed in Elijah’s life. After his victory over the prophets of Baal—fire consumed the altar of sacrifice; the false prophets were rounded up and killed; the heavens opened and the rains fell on Israel—Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, was very upset with Elijah. She vowed to have Elijah killed. And when Elijah got word of Jezebel’s threat, his faith got weak. He got up from where he was and ran for his life.
Elijah had completely given up hope. He and his servant ran away 50 miles from Jerusalem to a place called Beersheba. He left his servant there and went out another 25 miles into the desert, by himself. And there, he fell underneath a broom tree and said to God, “Lord, I’ve had enough. Take away my life.”
Elijah then laid down to sleep. But before he could rest, God’s angel came to him and fed him, and directed him to leave from where he was and travel to Mount Horeb, 170 miles away. And once Elijah got to Horeb—40 days later—he went up the mountain and into a cave and camped there.
Horeb was the mountain of God. It was also known as Mount Sinai, the mountain upon which Moses settled to receive God’s law. Horeb was the mountain where Moses saw the Lord reveal Himself in a bush that burned, but was not consumed. Thus, in sending Elijah from Jerusalem to Horeb, God was actually ushering Elijah into His presence. Elijah was in need of a faith revival.
Once he was at Horeb, God appeared to Elijah and asked him: “What are you doing here? Why would you give up on Me now? After all that I’ve shown you, why would you doubt Me now? After all of the bread and flesh that you ate when others around you were starving, why would you give up now? After all of the meal cakes you ate at the widow’s house for those 3 years, why would you lose hope now? After the victory that I gave you at Mount Carmel, why would you quit on Me now? I know what Jezebel said. I know what she intends to do if she gets her chance. But you ought to know by now that Jezebel is under My authority. She may sit high for a little while, but in My own time and in My own way, I’m going to deal with Jezebel.
“In the meantime, Elijah, don’t you quit. Don’t you give up. Don’t you surrender. Trouble may have you on the run, people may mistreat you. But don’t you ever lay down and quit. I’m still in charge. I’m still the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And just like I brought you through before, I will bring you through again.”
If you’re at a place where your faith is weak, God is asking you the same question: “What are you doing here?”