The battles intensified for Elijah. He had witnessed the power of God in defeating nature, death, Ahab, and Baal, but the next battle would not be so easy. This time it was Elijah vs. Jezebel.
Jezebel was as committed to Baal as Elijah was to Jehovah. Her hometown was the worldwide headquarters for Baal worship. She spent a boatload of money housing 400 prophets during a brutal famine.
When she took an oath, she was letting the world know that Elijah had 24 hours to get out of town. It would not be enough to send a company of soldiers out to kill the man of God, she had to discredit him. He had done great damage to the religion of Baal on Mount Carmel, and making a martyr of him would only worsen the situation. She needed Elijah to run.
The discouraged preacher ran. From Mount Carmel in the north to Beersheba in the south, Elijah put as much distance between himself and Jezebel as he was able. With his servant in the rear-view mirror, he went to Mount Sinai (Mount Horeb), and found a cave.
Certainly he knew the mountain was a holy place. The religious history of Israel was centered on the meetings of Moses with God on that mountain. But that cave may have been more holy than he knew. Five hundred ninety years earlier Moses had ascended that same mountain and found himself by a “clift of the rock.” More than one knowledgeable commentator thinks the cave of Moses in Exodus 33 and the cave of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 may have been the very same place.
Two men in a cave on Mount Sinai. One was searching and one was hiding. Their motives and life standing could not have been more different, yet the visit to a cave on Sinai was precisely what they both needed.
Maybe in our busy lives, we need to find our own “cave” where we are alone with God. We need to find a place where the cell phone doesn’t ring, where twitter accounts don’t need updating, and schedules don’t run the day. Moses found direction. Elijah found encouragement. Perhaps the reason we have our doubts and discouragements stem from the lack of time we spend alone with God.
In the Cave They Spoke with God
Moses spoke with God as a friend speaks to a friend. An upset Elijah spoke words of anger and frustration, yet it is fascinating they were speaking with God. They were not praying. They were not worshiping. They were talking to God.
We can talk to our Father. Of course there are times we fall on our knees before Him in worship, and there are times we humbly pray according to His will. But these men had such a relationship with God, they could carry a conversation with Him.
In the Cave They Returned to the Word of God
God told Moses he would write His words in the tables of stone. For Elijah, the “Word of the Lord came to him.” The secluded spot is a great place to open the Bible and read. Sometimes, we need to put the notes and commentaries and computer programs aside, and just read the Word of God. No sermons. No lessons. No outlines. Just Bible.
In the Cave They Were Challenged by God
Moses was impressed with the importance of the “presence” of God carrying the people of God. Elijah heard the question, “What doest thou here?” Both of the men were reminded they were incapable of accomplishing the King’s business in their own power and ability. It is not about us. It is good to make our way to the cave and let the Lord remind us.
In the Cave God Passed by Them
When God “passed by” Moses, the glory of the name of God was proclaimed. When God “passed by” Elijah, there was a great and strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire. This was a life changing moment in the lives of these two men. God passed by. They would experience stunning manifestations of the magnificence of God that no one else would ever know.
When we are alone with God, we are in the place where He can pass by and change our lives permanently.
In the Cave They Died to Themselves
When Moses finally returned to the children of Israel, he had to put a veil over his face. Everyone that saw his shining face knew it was no longer Moses, but God speaking through Moses. When Elijah stopped talking and started listening to the “still small voice” of God, he impacted Hazael, Jehu, and anointed the next mighty prophet of Israel, Elisha. He would spend the rest of his life preaching to a world that knew he was different. He was the voice of God.
George Mueller, when questioned about his spiritual power, responded simply, “One day George Mueller died.” It is awfully hard to die to ourselves when we are wrapped up in the hectic activity of the church. There has to be an appointment on the calendar where we get alone with God in a special place and let Him work on our hearts. We need to find our own little cave.