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  • Monica DuBois

60. What are you doing here?

Updated: May 8, 2023

What doest thou here, Elijah? 1 Kings19:9 and 13b

Elijah had just had a major victory over all the prophets of Baal. He slew all 450 of them by himself. When King Ahab told Jezebel, his wife, about all that happened, she cursed herself if she did not kill Elijah within the day just like he killed her prophets. Elijah believed her threats, and in a panic, he ran for an entire day. He sat under a juniper tree and asked God if he could die. He fell asleep from exhaustion. An angel woke him up with food to nourish and restore his body. Yet he was in such shock and fatigue he went back to sleep again. It is not clear how long he slept before the angel came again and brought more food. This time the food supplied all the energy he needed to sustain him for 40 days and nights. He journeyed to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God, and hid there.

Elijah thought that every last person in Israel had forsaken God and His covenant because they had destroyed all the altars for sacrifice to God and many other prophets had been slain before him. These were the facts, but God is the Great I Am. Elijah forgot Who God is. He had underestimated His Lord. He convinced himself he was all alone. And he was scared because of Jezebel’s threat.

Have you ever been this afraid? Has someone threatened your life? If so, then you might understand Elijah’s cry for death so he would not be a victim of this wicked queen. Elijah was terrified. But he was unaware of the power of God and how the Lord was helping him. Behold, a meal was before him in the middle of the wilderness, and an angel was ministering to him. Elijah assumed two things. First that Jezebel was capable of killing him, and second that he was the last one left who feared and served the Lord.

God knew exactly where Elijah was, but Jezebel did not know where Elijah had gone. God sated his prophet for the long journey of forty days and nights. He made it to his destination unharmed and without the need for food or water. Elijah’s mindset blinded him to these mini miracles. He was familiar with moving and serving under God’s mighty power, as in his defeat of Baal.


When Elijah approached the famed Mountain of God, he fell, exhausted, in a cave there. He accepted his defeat. God could not let Elijah stay isolated in this prison he made for himself. God visited him. And challenged his beliefs when God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Here are Elijah’s reasons for showing up on God’s Mountain:

1 Kings 19:10 And he said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I even, I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

“Jealous,” in Webster’s 1828 dictionary means: “solicitous to defend the honor of; concerned for the character of.”

Elijah had in his mind to defend the honor of God. And when Jezebel threatened his life, he doubted whether the Lord was on his side. He ran away and hid. This was the same man who stood up to 450 prophets of Baal. Yet a woman in authority made him run for the hills!

God called him out on his fears. He called Elijah to stand on His mountain. (This was the forbidden mountain; no one could go near it unless Moses or God Himself called them.) Take note of God’s character as He conversed with Elijah. There was no anger toward Elijah. He asked him, what are you doing here, knowing the answer forced Elijah to speak about his fears. (God knew when he spoke his fears aloud, their power would diminish.)

Elijah had confidence in his Lord while mocking the prophets of Baal and defeating them. Then Elijah made it even more difficult for his God to light a fire under the sacrifice. He rebuilt the altar unto the Lord, cut up the bullock, and put it on the wood on the altar. He commanded that four barrels of water, precious water (remember there has been a drought for 3 ½ years.) be brought and soaked all the wood and the altar, and he did this three times and it leaked into the trench he had dug around the altar. This took all day. Elijah was in no hurry, and everyone watched him. When he asked God to prove himself that He is the One True Living God, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and every bit of water that was in the trench.

Elijah did not doubt that the Lord would do all of this and more yet now after a woman threatened him, he wanted to die because he thought he was the only one left.

1 Kings 18:39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, He is the God.

There were some believers left in Israel! Yet Elijah overlooked this.

Somehow Elijah instead believed a lying, conniving woman. Yes, she was a wicked and powerful queen, but Elijah forgot Who God is! He raced for his life. His beliefs were flawed, and it drove him to hide.

Verse 19:3 And when he saw that, he arose and went for his life, and to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

Jezebel had sworn to end Elijah’s life like the prophets of Baal that he killed. Elijah’s argument to God was that he was no better than any of God’s prophets who were slain before him, and so he would surely die by her hand. So, he asked God to take him now.

God asked this question, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” not for information but for transformation. He wanted Elijah to speak aloud. Elijah had been silent, ruminating. But God knew Elijah had to release it to hear how crazy his opinions were. The power of these thoughts was nothing compared to what God was about to show him. And to prove it, God passed by the mountain and displayed His power with a mighty wind that tore loose rocks off the face of the mountain and hurled them down. Elijah was in his tight cocoon, curled up in his cloak in the cave when he heard the crashing, rolling rocks cascade down the mountain. God caused an earthquake to shake Elijah’s fears loose, but Elijah shivered in his cave as more rocks fell and the very ground shook under him and rolled him about his hovel.

God then caused the fire to ravage the mountain. The heat poured into the mouth of Elijah’s cave. Yet Elijah remained steadfast in his hiding place and felt justified in his fears.

This same prophet knew that the Lord was not in any of those major happenings. Because Elijah knew his Lord. His God was true and tenderhearted toward him all his life. So, when the still small voice spoke to Elijah in the security of his cave, then Elijah’s heart recognized it. God whispered to his prophet, it was firm, soft, low, and full of love. The Lord spoke words of life and truth to him. Nothing had moved Elijah’s heart to the truth, not the rumbling, the shaking, or the heat, except the still small voice of God. This is good to remember when we know someone we love is believing a lie. Go to them in love, get curious, ask questions, and listen then speak softly about the truth of who God is, and who they are in Him.

The Lord spoke softly to him to help Elijah see he was not alone in the cave that day. He realized that God himself was with him and he was chosen by God. Elijah grabbed his mantle and wrapped his face in it. He managed to get up with his face still covered and went and stood on the side of the mountain as God asked him to do. He confessed the same lies he had believed that brought this mighty prophet of God to cower in a cave. It is important to note that Elijah came to the mountain of God. He did not run away from God; he ran toward Him. This was the best thing he could have done.

Caution to the Saints: Sometimes you will feel like you are the only one believing in God in the hardest of situations. You will feel like the whole church has gone astray and you are left alone. But know this: the real saints, the real church, is a remnant, a small group, and the path is narrow, but you are not alone! God tells Elijah he is not the only one left. The Lord dispels this lie after he tells him about the next part of His plan for Israel. This included Elijah’s replacement, Elisha, being anointed with Elijah’s mantle. The same mantle Elijah had cowered under in fear and despair a few minutes before this.

In Matthew 17, Elijah and Moses encourage Jesus on a mountain in His time of need. Try to imagine what Elijah told Jesus. He might have shared this story of being in the mountain cave, afraid, and Jesus’ Father whispered in a still small voice to him. He spoke words of life, love, and encouragement that lifted Elijah and gave him the courage to do the task God required of him. Elijah was able to give words of life to Jesus, words of hope, and words of prophecy that could only be fulfilled by Jesus.

The Lord God ignored the excuses that Elijah presented as truth. The Lord God Almighty shared with Elijah the events that would occur. He did not focus on how wrong Elijah was in believing these lies, He just spoke of the next part of the plan. God loved Elijah and helped him to overcome his shame. The Lord knew Elijah was tired and weary from his battle. God asked him the same question again. And Elijah stated the same fears. This time, he could hear his excuses. I picture Elijah standing there with his robe held up to his face and saying all of this again with a new belief in the Lord and a lighter heart because he had just witnessed the power of God in the still small voice. The fears of gale-force winds, the earthquake, and the fire did not move Elijah’s heart from fear but the still small voice of his Lord did.

God knew he needed hope. He spoke of Elijah mentoring Elisha, then God gave him the great news of how many God-fearing people the Lord had in Israel.

19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

The Lord God had equipped him with truth and strength. Elijah dusted himself off from his fears and excuses, he left the mountain cave and went to find his replacement. He had courage, vigor, and purpose to go in the power of the Lord: because of “the still small voice.”

God alone equips His saints to love and serve Him. Has God spoken to you in a still small voice amid your wind storms, ground-shaking situations, or heated arguments? What did He say? Did His words give you the courage and strength to do His will?

Please share the stories that come to mind with me. Comment or email me with your story.

by Monica DuBois © October 25, 2022

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DuBois Family
DuBois Family

This is the mo awesome post. I can really see Elijahs heart in your writing.

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