Last January our ladies Bible study started learning about the women of the Bible. We started in Genesis with Eve and have been slowly working our way through. A couple of weeks ago we were in I Kings and starting on Jezebel. This woman was one that had to be in control, and would do anything to get what she wanted. The gods of her country were Baal and Asherah. She was pretty tight with the prophets of these gods, even feeding them at her table.
Elijah was a prophet of the one true God and decided to have a little contest with the prophets of Baal to see whose god was really God. He had the people bring two bulls and told the prophets of Baal to cut it however they wanted and then to pray to their god and he would pray to his God, and whichever God answered by fire was the true God. They cut up their bull, and started calling out to their god. No answer. They called some more. No answer. They limped, they cried, they cut themselves. No answer. Elijah comes up and says, “Hey guys, your god hasn’t answered. Maybe he can’t hear you. Maybe he is asleep, or on a journey, or reading Western Horseman while sitting on the toilet!” Their time was up, so Elijah had the other bull cut up, laid it on the altar and told the people to fill up four jars and pour it on the bull. Three times. The water soaked into the bull and filled up a trench around the altar. Then Elijah said, “O Lord, God, let it be known that You are God in Isreal and that You, Lord, ARE GOD!” Fire fell from heaven and consumed the bull, the dirt, the rocks and all the water and then the people fell on their faces and cried “The Lord He is God!” Then Elijah had all the prophets killed.
Somebody told Miss Jezebel and boy was she hot! She got word to old Elijah that by that time the next day he would be 6 feet under. Elijah, this mighty man of God, who had just seen the fire from heaven, started running. He ran straight to a cave. Many times in scripture a cave represents shame or fear. In Elijah’s case I believe it was both. He was hiding in this cave and the word of the Lord came to the cave and asked, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Why does that woman’s condemnation scare you? Elijah began telling God all he had done for Him and that he was the only one left to do the work. There came a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire, and God wasn’t in any of those. After all that, there came a still small voice. Elijah covered himself and went to the opening of the cave. Once again, God asked, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Once again, Elijah started telling God all he had done for Him and that he was the only one left to do the work.
Jesus did an amazing work for us and because of that we don’t have to live in condemnation. We don’t have to stay in the cave of shame. All the ladies at the study that night (including me) came to that table with a past.
Some of us find comfort in bringing condemnation on ourselves. We enjoy being in the cave, maybe even hang curtains and have a “home sweet home” sign on the wall. We can’t forgive ourselves. We live in defeat instead of victory. Jesus comes and asks, “Hey punkin, what are you doing here? You don't have to live here.”
One lady had family members who would remind her of her past. Remind her of her kids’ imperfections. She would run to her cave. None of us are worthy of His love. He gives it to us anyway. We can choose to stay in the cave or let others keep us in there. Or we can listen to that still small voice that draws us to another shelter full of grace. The shelter of His wings. Safe. Peaceful. Forgiven.