When the Word of God Asks Us a Question (Question 2 of 3)



January 30, 2022

1 Kings 19:8-9 NIV

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


Elijah, the Prophet of God, is in a world of hurt. He has just come from the famous Battle of the Gods on Mt. Carmel. He finds himself in the wilderness state we might call Vertigo, both running from God while running to God. He has lost his sense of direction, balance and even will to go on. 

He traveled from Mt. Carmel to Mt. Horeb (aka “the Mountain of God”) and he went into a cave—which brings us to our text:

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

Like Adam, Elijah responds to God’s question with a lot of information without answering the question.

10 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.”

So God decides to peel back a layer of the onion that is the Cosmos and take Elijah into what we might call the thin place. 

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 

And then this happens:

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

And then, whispering this time, God asks the question again:

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I love the subtlety of how he puts Elijah’s name at the end of the question rather than at the beginning. God is gentle like that. Now, you won’t believe this (or maybe you will), Elijah gives the EXACT SAME ANSWER which was not an answer. In the immortal words of the great prophet of baseball, Yogi Berra, “It’s like deja vu—all over again.” 

14 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.” 

And then the question comes to me, “What are you doing here, John David?” It is much easier to recount my circumstances and rehash my challenges. It is much harder to actually answer the question, “What are you doing here?” 

So what are you doing here, (insert your name)? I’ll go first. 

I am waking up to the rest of my life. At 55, maybe I have a year. Maybe I have fifty. Whatever it is, I am waking up to the sheer possibility of what Jesus can do with, for, in and through my life. That said, I am renouncing any and all grandiosity of my former narcissistic ambitions to do something great for God. That said, I am sowing for a great awakening. To that end, I am becoming small, like a seed. I have given up on the Republicans and the Democrats and this cause, that so-called movement and all the other broken ideologies to fix things. Only one Kingdom will endure and prevail, the Kingdom of Jesus, and this Kingdom is hovering just over the present state of chaos, already breaking in through the tiniest seeds that will become—and indeed are becoming—the tallest trees. What am I doing here? I am learning day by day the difference between being in the world “for Christ” and being “in Christ” for the world. And I’m trying to encourage as many people as I can, every single day, that we are coming to the end of a long season of slumber, that it is time to wake up and rise from the dead, that Jesus is now shining, revealing himself far beyond anything that we ever knew or imagined him to be before. He will take anybody who will raise their hand. I am just one of his scouts, one of his ambassadors, looking to field a team; looking for raised hands ready to be filled with miracle seeds. That’s what I’m doing here. And as the old time evangelists are wont to say, “I see that hand!” ;0) 

O.K., your turn:

What are you doing here, (insert your name)? 


Yes, Lord, thank you for the questions you ask in your Word, when you know the answer all along. Thank you for this question, “What are you doing here?” Thank you for making it personal to me. Thank you for helping me to actually answer it; to get past rehashing all my circumstances and pain and all the stuff you already know. Show me what I am doing here. Thank you for showing me it doesn’t need to be some grand thing but ordinary and real. Holy Spirit, show me the potency of your possibilities in my ordinary and very real life, right here and right now. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


O.K., What are you doing here, (insert your name)? ;0) 

P.S. What’s Next on the Daily Text?

On Tuesday, February 1, we will begin a slow walk through 1-2 Peter. (February 1 through April 17).  My working title for the series is, “The Gospel through the Eyes of a Fisherman.” This will be followed by a six week series through Colossians. Today, we begin the pre-sowing for the Daily Text Book (from this series) First Word. Last Word. God’s Word. Volume 2. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


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


  1. JD, thank you for sharing God’s words and questions. Where am I, why am I here? These questions are to me like the days before “GPS” when one driving somewhere had to pull over to the side of the road and pull out a map. God’s Word is like a map on this journey called life. Like you, I too have come to question where I may have gotten off course when it comes to living a life of true discipleship. I have experienced what you have described as holy discontent. Just a casual reading of the book of Acts should be a wake-up call to the fact that we, the church, missed an exit or took a wrong turn somewhere back earlier. I’m discovering that there are other fellow believers who’ve arrived at the same conclusion. I’m currently parked on the side of the road trying to get my bearings straight. I use these Daily Texts to help me read my map (God’s word) more clearly.