I love to hike and explore. I hate camping. I don’t want to camp. But I absolutely love to explore, hike and even climb around on the side of a mountain. Whether it’s in Israel climbing up the face of a rock to get to a cave, wandering around Charleston, climbing rocks at Joshua Tree, climbing down the side of a mountain in Palm Springs, or walking out to the edge of a cliff in the Grand Canyon, I love to explore and hike. For me, there’s just something about hiking, especially on a mountain to get a whole new, different view of what I’ve seen before.

As I was reading my Bible, I came across someone named Elijah who also found himself in a cave on the side of a mountain. Check this out:

There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19:9

On the surface, this seems pretty straightforward. I mean, many people have spent the night in a cave after a long hike, right? But for Elijah, this was no normal hike. You see, Elijah had been on the run for some 40 days and nights from someone who wanted to kill him, Queen Jezebel. So, desperately afraid, Elijah took off and went on the run and eventually found himself at Mount Sinai. Now, check out Elijah’s answer to God’s question:

Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” – 1 Kings 19:10

And here we see why Elijah is on the run. Elijah was one of God’s prophets. And because He loved God, he took on all the prophets who worshipped the false god, Baal. After the Lord, God, proved that He was and is the God of Israel by sending fire from heaven, Elijah had all of the prophets of the false god Baal rounded up, and he killed them… all 450. Let me spell that out for you… Four Hundred and Fifty. The courage and faith that it took to take on 450 people who worshipped, not only a false god, but the false god that the queen worshipped, had to be massive (1 Kings 18). But once Elijah heard that the queen wanted him dead, something changed, and fear took over his life.

Maybe that’s where you find yourself today. Maybe you’re facing a job change and you’re fearful, feeling like you aren’t qualified to do the work. Maybe you’re a student, looking at moving away for college for the first time, and you’re fearful because you’ll be by yourself. Maybe you’re a parent who’ll be an “empty nester” and you’ll be by yourself or by yourselves for the first time. Maybe you’re facing a health crisis and you find yourself living in fear. I don’t know what your situation is, but there you find yourself. Look at what God told Elijah:

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. – 1 Kings 19:11-13

Here’s what’s interesting to me about this specific passage of Scripture, this area that Elijah finds himself in is the same Mount Sinai where Moses had received the two stone tablets of the 10 Commandments from God Himself! Look at Exodus 33:

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. – Exodus 33:19-22

When 1 Kings talks about Elijah coming to a cave, it is alluding to the “crevice of the rock,” or cave in Exodus 33. But more importantly than the cave, in the first part of the Exodus passage in verse 19, God told Moses, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you.” Both of the passages, the Exodus passage and the 1 Kings passage, mentions God’s “passing by” and connects the two together. As a result, we get a better picture of God’s relationship to Elijah during this time. You see, the desperate prophet of God, Elijah, needed exactly what Moses had received from God. He needed a whole new view of the living God as God caused His presence and His attributes to pass by Elijah as a reminder of who and what He is. And maybe, just maybe that’s where you find yourself today.

Maybe you need a whole new view of the living God in your life.

And like Elijah and Moses before him, God wants to remind you of who and what He is, namely, the Lord of all creation. He wants you to know that, even in your fear and desperation, He will care and provide for you in a way you might not expect. Maybe that’s what He wants to remind you right now, that He has sent His presence to us that will give us the strength and peace we need to go forward.

If you don’t know about God’s presence or have never received this gift from Him, it’s found in giving your life to and trusting in Jesus as the One who saves you from yourself and your sin. As you do, God leaves with you His Holy Spirit to fill you will the strength, peace and hope you need for today and tomorrow. So, stand so that the presence of God may pass by you as you get a renewed view of who God is in your life today.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. – John 14:27