1 Kings 19:9
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
1 Kings 19:13
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
Here we are, after 40 days, at Mt Sinai(Horeb.) Elijah ran from the evil Jezebel, hid under a tree, was provided for by God and made the trek from Beersheba to Horeb. He finally arrives, finds a cave to hide in and lodges there. God speaks and asks the prophet, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” First, we must remember, God doesn’t ask things because He needs to know; He already knows. God knew the motivation of Elijah’s heart better than the man himself knew it. There must be another reason God asked this question.
Last time we talked we had some discussion about whether this trip was God’s plan, or whether Elijah was just doing his own thing. This passage makes me lean strongly in the direction of Elijah doing his own thing with this little side trip. It seems the very question might imply that what Elijah was doing was not actually what God wanted him to be doing. If that is true, it makes what transpires between God and Elijah even more amazing; it should also serve as a great encouragement to us all. We will see later that there were many others standing by in the wings to carry on with God’s work; one of those was the mighty Elisha. Again, God could have just left Elijah to wallow in his self-pity, or even just dealt with him directly. He did not.
So, back to the question regarding the question. God knew exactly what Elijah was up to, so why did He ask what Elijah was up to? Friends, God desires our communication with Him. We don’t have to tell Him what we seek; He already knows. We don’t have to tell Him our concerns and fears; He already knows. We don’t have to tell Him our needs; He knows what is best for us far better than we do.
We will see later that God had a lesson to teach Elijah on that mountain. I can’t help but think that part of the lesson was helping Elijah come to an understanding of his own self. In other words, God helped the prophet come to grips with his own motivation and concerns, then clearly addressed them. Maybe if Elijah had never articulated his concerns, they would have simply gone unanswered. How many time might our own concerns go unanswered simply because we never articulated them to our Heavenly Father?