Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Thou shalt know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.”
“Quiet waiting before God would save from many a mistake and from many a sorrow.”
J. Hudson Taylor
Today’s Study Text:
“There he came to a cave and lodged in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”
1 Kings 19: 9
“Lodged In A Cave”
“In perplexities -- when we cannot tell what to do, when we cannot understood what is going on around us -- let us be calmed and steadied and made patient by the thought that what is hidden from us in not hidden from Him.”
Frances Ridley Havergal
Has there ever been a time in my life when I felt like running somewhere and hiding?
Do I feel as though I’m “lodged” in a cave with no place to go?
“O Lord…Make Your Word clear enough to instruct, rich enough to satisfy, and persuasive enough to redirect our lives.”
It had been a long journey. Over eighty miles to be exact. Having climbed upon the Mount of God at Horeb, Elijah found a cave and there, we are told, he decided to “lodge.”
In the Hebrew, the word “lodge” is an interesting choice to be used in the study text for today, particularly because there are several meanings to this word and they all, I might add, apply to the predicament Elijah found himself in.
First, the word means, ”to stop, usually overnight.” However, this Hebrew word “liyn” or “luwn,” by implication can also imply, “to stay permanently,” and who knows, since Elijah had lived in the mountainous region of Gilead and was accustomed to “roughing it,” he may have come to the conclusion that a cave at Horeb wasn’t a bad place to live. Certainly, his remote location, made it very difficult for Jezebel to sink her claws into him.
But there’s also a second definition of the word “lodge’ and it expresses the emotion of one who is obstinate or complaining. Further, in explaining the meaning of this word, the Hebrew dictionary includes phrases like, “holding a grudge.” Now this may seem completely out of character for Elijah, but if we read 1 Kings 19: 10, the verse which follows today’s study text, the indication is, from Elijah’s own words, that he was upset -- specifically with God. And from a human standpoint, I’m very sympatric with Elijah for when it appeared that the people of Israel had forsaken the God of heaven and earth and thrown themselves without hesitation, into the worship of the fertility god, Baal, it was Elijah who stood up and showed that he would not be cowed into bowing the knee to a man-made image no matter what. Even with the threat of death held over his head, his was not a coward’s heart.
I think for all of us, there comes a point where we may feel like enough is enough. Maybe even where we get to the place that we feel it is unwise to subject ourselves to continued harassment and intimidation. If Elijah felt this way, I don’t blame him.
In defense of Elijah’s hideaway in a cave and feeling as if God had forgotten where he was, I’d like to offer up the idea that for most individuals who find themselves walking the heavenly path and following the guiding hand of God, there comes an experience along the way, when the road isn’t smooth. When the forces of evil attack with ferocious power. And Elijah certainly had hit a rough patch.
To this day, I have not met many of God’s children who at some time in their lives hasn’t found that a cave, hidden away from the trauma of everyday ups and downs, wouldn’t seem like the perfect place for seclusion and shelter from the storms of life.
The great author F. B. Meyer, in sharing his insights into Elijah’s experience pens these words:
“It is a fact which we all admit; but which we seldom realize in the moments of depression and darkness to which we are all exposed. It is not difficult to believe that God loves us, when we go with the multitude to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, and stand in the inner sunlight circle…it is not difficult to believe that God loves us when, like Elijah at Cherith and on Carmel, we do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word; but it is not so easy when, like Elijah in the desert, we lie stranded, or, as rudderless vessels, roll in the trough of the waves…yet we must learn to know and believe the constancy of the love of God. We may not feel it. We may deem it shut up and gone forever…O (child) of God, lying amid the wrecks of what might have been, take heart! Hope thou still in the love of God; trust in it; yield to it; and thou shalt yet praise Him, who is the health of thy countenance and thy God.”
As the prophet Elijah, such a stalwart of God in an age of perverse idolatry, hid in a dark cave, a voice called out with tender care. The Bible says, “the word of the Lord came to him (Elijah)” (1 Kings 19: 9). It was a voice Elijah recognized for he had heard this voice and followed it many times before. With a devoted spirit, Elijah had gone where this voice had led. And now, buried in the side of a mountain, deep within the crevice of a cave, God let his dear friend and servant know, without a doubt, that He had been following him watching Elijah’s every step. I love the way Phillip Keller describes this mountain scene:
“Elijah was alone with his God. Elijah was really back at the initial base of his own beginnings. He needed again to hear a word from God.”
It may be you find yourself, today, trapped in a cave -- some dark place where the future appears foreboding and you don’t know what is next. Never forget -- as with Elijah, so it is with you and me. Our Father has promised never to forget where we are. “I will never leave thee or forsake thee” (Hebrews 13: 5), God reminds us.
Just before Jesus left his friends on earth, after His resurrection, He spoke these words which I am certain brought hope to His disciples, who may well have felt like Jesus’ absence was like being left alone in a cave on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Here was Jesus’ promise, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28: 20).
The poet, J. Danson Smith took these words, found in Matthew’s book, and fashioned the comforting poem entitled, “Lo, I Am With You!”
“’Lo, I am with you!’ Statement so blest!
Full of such wonderful comfort and rest!
Balm for the sorrowing; cheer for the sad;
Light for the desolate – light that makes glad;
Food for the famishing, jaded and spent;
Strength for the stricken, the broken, the bent;
Calm for the dying, when life nears the end,
‘Lo, I with you, thy Saviour and Friend.’
‘Lo, I am with you!’ Sentence of bliss!
Where can the heart find an equal to this?
Staff for all valleys, and stay for all days,
His promised presence for all of life’s ways;
Pillow to rest upon; soft couch as well;
Words whose full wondrousness lips cannot tell;
‘Lo, I am with you,’ words all sublime;
Great words, which change not; unfaded by time.”
Encouragement sent to us by Jesus, Himself. Hope-filled words that reach us whether we are running in fear from Jezebel or holed up on a cave on a mountain. No matter where we are, our Father is with us always.
“Lord, with no sense of direction
I’m forever losing my way.
Please tie a string
From Your heart to mine
So that even in the darkness
I’ll feel the tug of Your heart
And find my way home.”
Ruth Harms Calkin
He Hideth My Soul
“A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me,
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand.”
Fanny J. Crosby
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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