It's Never Too Late To Obey God
By Bev Yellowley
Elijah was afraid and running for his life. The Queen had sent him a message saying she wanted him dead. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel worshiped the pagan god Baal, and they led the Israelites into this heathen practice. Earlier that day, Elijah went to see King Ahab to tell him to gather together the prophets of Baal and Asherah and meet him on Mount Carmel. Elijah instructed the heathen prophets to build a stone altar, lay a bull on the stones and call on their god to set fire to the sacrifice. Elijah told the people to prepare his altar and pour 12 large jars of water onto the offering and the wood. Then, Elijah began to pray and said, “The god who answers by fire, He is God.”
Elijah and the followers of Baal prepared their altars and cried out to their gods. All day long the heathen prophets prayed, danced and even cut themselves to try to get his attention. Baal did not respond, but God answered when Elijah called out to Him in prayer. Fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, wood, stones, and soil and even licked up the water that filled a trench they had dug around the base of the altar. When the Israelites saw this, they fell to the ground and cried, “The LORD He is God!” It must have been amazing to witness God's power and majesty that day.
Then, God told Elijah to have the prophets of Baal killed because of their disobedience to God. When King Ahab heard this, he raced home and told the Queen all that had transpired. She was furious and sent a message to Elijah warning him that by this time tomorrow he'd be dead! Elijah was terrified when he heard the Queen's words. He took off running and traveled to a desert a day’s walk from Beersheba. He saw a broom tree there and sat down under its shade praying, “I've had enough Lord. I want to die.” Elijah laid down under the tree and fell asleep. An angel sent by the Lord woke him to give him food and water; he was revived. He left and traveled 40 more days until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. He found a cave there and went inside for the night.
God spoke to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have worked hard for you, God. The Israelites have turned against you. I am the only one left, and now they're trying to kill me too.” Then, God showed Himself to Elijah not in a mighty wind or an earthquake nor in the fire he sent on the mountain that day. God spoke to him in a gentle whisper and asked him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” In fear and despair, Elijah cried out to God reminding Him that despite all his hard work the Israelites had rebelled against Him and now there was a plot to take his life! He was concerned there would be no one left to carry on God's work if he was gone. God told Elijah to return to Beersheba. Then, He surprised him with the news that there were 7,000 men in Israel who were not worshiping Baal. Elijah was not alone in serving God.
In this passage from 1 Kings 18 and 19, God showed His great power and glory when He sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice and everything around it. But, now Elijah was on the run from a vengeful Queen. He was exhausted, hungry and felt like he was all alone. Elijah thought he was the only prophet of God left in Israel.
He finally stopped running and settled in a cave for the night. God spoke to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God wanted him to know He was sovereign and would protect him from his enemies. He did not need to run away. Elijah had just experienced an amazing miracle on Mount Carmel, but he did not trust that the God who set the sacrifice ablaze was the same God who could protect and guide him now.
Could God be saying to you, “What are you doing here?” It might make you question how you've gotten to this place in your life. You feel like you're just barely making it through the day, and you don't have the time or energy to be involved in a ministry. God knows how you feel, and He understands how many responsibilities you have every day. If there's something Gods wants you to do, He will help you find the time and give you the strength you need to accomplish His work. It says in Philippians 1:6, “... He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
You might already be in God's will doing what He has asked you to do. But, what if God has more He wants you to achieve. Maybe you've been involved in a ministry you thought was right for you. You believed it was where God wanted you to serve. But lately, you've been hearing from God that He has a different work for you to do. You can easily settle into a routine and be involved in things you think would please God but be totally missing His will for you.
It's never too late to obey God. God is waiting, longing for you to come to Him in complete submission, and ask Him what His plan is for your life. He delights in answering prayer. Maybe you feel the Lord is asking you, “What are you doing here?” You think you've gotten off course; you're not in the center of His will. It's never too late to obey God. You can surrender your life to Him maybe for the first time or in a new way today. It will be a decision you'll never regret.