God had a plan, and Elijah hid in a cave.
He did so following some amazing miracles God had done through him as he followed God’s direction. You may remember the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. God was about to do a mighty miracle, and Elijah was following God’s direction in setting it up. First, he gave the prophets of Baal their chance, but when their gods did not answer, Elijah had a good time poking fun and laughing at them. He seemed quite full of faith and confidence in his own God. And indeed, God showed up! Not only was the offering consumed by the fire of God, but the altar, the stones, the dust and even the water in the trenches – all were consumed by the fire! You can read the account in 1 Kings, chapters 18 and 19.
You’d think that after witnessing such a miracle Elijah would never have any trouble with a little thing like fear. Yet soon after that event an evil woman named Jezebel was out to kill him, so Elijah did the sensible thing – he ran and hid in a cave.
Sometimes we can be fully following the Lord, anointed for the work He has called us to, serving in faith and obedience, when suddenly, something happens. Just as Elijah’s works did not go unnoticed by that evil Jezebel, we may find ourselves suddenly the object of the enemy’s unwanted attention. We recognize the evil force and even peril to our own lives. Do we take the risk and keep moving forward? Or do we pull back to safety, even as Elijah did by first fleeing from Jezebel and then even going so far as to hide in a cave?
I believe with all my heart that when difficulties come, God wants us to stand in faith, trusting Him, and not run to any perceived safety other than God Himself. I believe He is pleased when we take refuge in Him. But if we don’t, and we just flat out make a run for it, does He give up not only on us but on His very own plan?
Thankfully, no. He found Elijah in the cave and spoke to Him in a gentle wind and a quiet whisper. “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Then he gave him more instructions, and also a reliable partner in Elisha – also the one God intended for Elijah to “pass the baton” to.
In relating Elijah’s story, my main point is that when our courage fails and we run away, God doesn’t give up on His own plan.
Jeremiah 1:12 Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it."
Then Job answered the LORD and said, "I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
[ALL SCRIPTURES NASB]