What Are You Doing Here?

6

1 Kings 19:9–10 (NIV)

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

CONSIDER THIS

ME: THIS IS THE WAY—
YOU: FROM GLORY TO GLORY!

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Now the word of the Lord comes to Elijah. Remember, we have no indication the Word of the Lord instructed Elijah to come here to Mt. Sinai. The question makes sense doesn’t it? If the Lord didn’t tell Elijah to come here, the Lord perhaps wants to know what Elijah is doing here. Then again, the God who knows our going out and our lying down and who is familiar with all our ways, already knows what Elijah is doing here.

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Sometimes I think the Lord wants to know that we know what we are doing here. At other times he wants us to know that we don’t know. I think this is one of those times. Remember, Elijah is at a loss. He is floundering and flailing. It seems like he is reaching for some stability. Despite his very costly obedience to God, his world has been turned upside down. He needed something more than those ephemeral places where he thought he heard from the Lord. The remote ravine and the widow’s house would not do again. He needed something more substantial this time. He had come to the Mountain of God, the place of all places. But why Elijah?

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

His answer betrays his disorientation. 

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

His answer is a non-answer. It is half whining and half pleading; half victor and half victim. Elijah remains in this nether place between asleep and awakening. I would call it survival. He still can’t believe what has happened. Elijah is in survival mode. He is taking on the mind of a survivor. 

You’ve been there. Many of us are there now. You are doing your best but losing touch. You keep thinking you will round the corner and things will improve but they just keep deteriorating. You have been faithful yet the Lord seems distant. You believe but confusion creeps in like a shadow. Now the question comes to you:

What are you doing here? 

Try inserting your name and asking the question of yourself aloud, as though coming from God. (Your name here), what are you doing here? 

Hear Elijah’s desperate response again:

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

There comes a point in time where though you have been victimized by vicissitudes of life, you must lay down your right to victimhood. There comes a point in time where though you have survived many dangers, toils, and snares, you must take off your badge of survivorhood. Victimhood and survivorhood are real things; and they are realities that must be worked through and healed from, but they are not your identity. They happened to you, and they will try to define you, but they are not who you are. Such things are the common lot of the human race. If allowed to take root they produce in us a kind of entitlement complex; the sense that someone owes us something. This must be renounced until it has finally been released. 

Here is what I am learning today: Though others may owe me debts of recompense, reparation, damages, even rewards and gratitude—God owes me nothing—not even an explanation. I realize this may offend some modern sensibilities of justice. In my humble opinion, the spirit of the age is arriving at a conception of justice that defies the ancient reality of biblical justice. 

No matter how valiantly I believe I have served the living God, no matter how far I think I have followed Jesus, no matter how courageously I consider I have fought the good fight in the warfare of the Spirit, I have no claim on God. There’s a hard edged teaching of Jesus that comes to mind. 

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:7–10)

What are we doing here? 

We are here to serve, to love, to give, and none of this in order to receive, but all of it because we have and are so extravagantly receiving. 

This is the way—from glory to glory. 

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, thank you for asking Elijah the question, What are you doing here? And thank you for asking us the same question. I confess, I can so easily forget what I am doing here. I can so easily drift into feeling sorry for myself, think about how I have been wronged and hurt, and how I am owed something for all that. I can so easily drift into a kind of scorekeeping of all I have done for you and asking what you have done for me lately. Forgive me. I forgive them. I am an unworthy servant and yet a deeply loved son/daughter of yours. This is my identity. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

Where do you see yourself in all of this reflection today?

J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

Subscribe to the Daily Text Here

SHARE

Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Entitlement is to proudly believe that you have some self-focused claims on God. Grace is to freely and humbly admit that you are at God’s mercy and have no claims on Him and no rights before Him. Even the most exemplary Christ-followers are only “unworthy servants.” “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.”

  2. I, like all of humanity, was conceived in sin, and in sin did my mother bear me. I was once a slave to sin, but through faith in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, I’ve been adopted into the household of faith. I’m a bond servant to Christ my Lord and one day receive the inheritance of eternal life with God in a glorified body. No matter what the external circumstances indicate, I’m seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. My life is hidden in Christ.

  3. Been there, done that, and worn that T-shirt. Then I discovered that the T-shirt was my skin. And it’s hard to remove. I can’t, but Christ can. He did that on the cross.
    Jesus is the only one who can, will, and takes the I out of sin. When the I is removed, the S and N collapse. Now, if it is up to me to quit trying to reinsert myself (I) back in the middle of sin. We want to be the jury, judge, and executioner for those who did us wrong. Wouldn’t that make us like them? Retaliation is worse than the original offense; it’s obvious it comes from malice.

    Romans 12:21-Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    How do we do this when my soul screams for retaliation?!
    Jesus.
    Vulnerability.
    Humility.
    Willingness.
    Forgiveness.
    Then we may be able to understand their actions as explained in Ephesians 6:10-12

  4. I see myself being stretched again. Jesus did this too me several years ago. It’s happening again. The difference is, this time I know what is happening and I say yes. I am here take and send me out. He is. Thanks Lord
    Thanks to my teachers John David and Jay
    And thank you Holy Spirit

LEAVE A REPLY