In a competition to see what “god” could end the seven-year drought in ancient Israel, Elijah, the prophet of the God of Israel defeated the prophets of Baal, the God of Queen Jezebel. With a cloud rising out of the Mediterranean sea, the drought ended. Queen Jezebel was furious and threatened the life of Elijah who fled into the wilderness and ultimately to Mt Horeb, also known as Mt Sinai. There upon the mountain top, God encountered Elijah, not in fire or earthquake or wind, but in the complete silence. There, upon the mountain top, where Moses received the covenant with God and the 10 commandments, God asked Elijah – “What are you doing here?”
Isn’t that the same question God always asks us – “What are you doing here?” Even when we are worried and afraid, God asks us what we want. It’s a good question that sometimes guides us to affirm our call to stay where we are and to engage. Sometimes the response may be – “Yes, I need to get out of here, this is not where I need to be.”
After God questioned Elijah and assured him that God was with him, he was tasked to anoint a new king of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) and a new king of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and a prophet to be his successor, Elisha. He was also assured that there were 7,000 people who shared his faith so he was not alone as he supposed.
So, to, with us, God assures us of his presence; God assures us that there are people of faith around us; and that there is always good works and good news to share.