The Review and Herald


October 30, 1913

“What Doest Thou Here?”



To Elijah, in his place of hiding, the Lord said, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” I sent you to Samaria with a message to Ahab; I sent you to the brook Cherith, and afterward to the widow of Sarepta. I commissioned you to return to Israel and to stand before the idolatrous priests on Carmel; and I girded you with strength to guide the chariot of the king to the gate of Jezreel. But who sent you on this hasty flight into the wilderness? What errand have you here? RH October 30, 1913, par. 1

So, to every child of God not actively engaged in service whose voice the enemy of souls, no matter by what means, has succeeded in silencing, the question is addressed, What doest thou here? I commissioned you to go into all the world and preach the gospel, to prepare a people for the day of God. Why are you here? Who sent you? RH October 30, 1913, par. 2

The joy set before Christ, the joy that sustained him through sacrifice and suffering, was the joy of seeing sinners saved. This should be the joy of every Christian, the spur to his ambition. Those who realize, even in a limited degree, what redemption means to them and to their fellow men, will comprehend in some measure the vast needs of humanity. Their hearts will be moved to compassion as they see the moral and spiritual destitution of thousands who are under the shadow of a terrible doom, in comparison with which physical suffering fades into nothingness. RH October 30, 1913, par. 3

Of families, as of individuals, the question is asked, What doest thou here? In many churches there are families well instructed in the truths of God's Word who might widen the sphere of their influence by moving to places in need of the ministry that they are capable of giving. God calls for Christian families to go into the dark places of the earth, and work wisely and perseveringly for those who are enshrouded in spiritual gloom. To answer this call requires self-sacrifice. While many are waiting to have every obstacle removed, souls are dying, without hope and without God. For the sake of worldly advantage, for the sake of acquiring scientific knowledge, men are willing to venture into pestilential regions, and endure hardship and privation. Where are those who are willing to do as much for the sake of telling others of the Saviour? RH October 30, 1913, par. 4

“The love of Christ constraineth us,” the apostle Peter declared. This was the motive that impelled the zealous disciple in his arduous labors in the cause of the gospel. It was the impulse that moved the great apostle Paul. And no less is the need today that the followers of Christ feel the same constraining power and respond to its influence with the same zeal and devotion. RH October 30, 1913, par. 5

If under trying circumstances, men of spiritual power, pressed beyond measure, become discouraged and desponding, if at times they see nothing desirable in life, that they should choose it, this is nothing strange or new. One of the mightiest of prophets fled for his life before the rage of an infuriated woman. A fugitive, weary and travel-worn, bitter disappointment crushing his spirits, he asked that he might die. To all who, spending their lives in self-sacrificing labor, are tempted to give way to despondency and distrust, the experience of Elijah of Mt. Horeb should bring hope and courage in the assurance of God's watchful care, his love, and his power. RH October 30, 1913, par. 6

When men see their zeal for God's cause misunderstood or unappreciated, their counsels and reproofs slighted, their efforts to do a work of reform repaid with hatred and opposition; when they see those from whom they have a right to expect help and support, adding to their burdens, let them study anew the work of Elijah and the experience he gained on Horeb. It was when hope was gone, and his life-work seemed threatened with defeat, that the prophet learned one of the deepest lessons of his life. In the hour of his greatest weakness he learned the need and the possibility of trusting God under circumstances the most forbidding. Never would Heaven forsake him while he maintained his integrity. RH October 30, 1913, par. 7

It is at the time of greatest weakness that Satan assails the soul with the fiercest temptations. It was thus that he hoped to prevail over the Son of God; for by this policy he had gained many victories over man. When the will-power weakened and faith failed, then those who had stood long and valiantly for the right yielded to temptation. Moses, wearied with the faithlessness and rebellion of the Israelites during the forty years of wandering, lost for a moment his hold on infinite power. He failed just on the borders of the promised land. So with Elijah. He who had stood undaunted before Ahab, who throughout that terrible day on Carmel had stood before the whole nation of Israel, the sole witness to the true God, in a moment of weariness allowed the fear of death to overcome his faith. RH October 30, 1913, par. 8

And so it is today. When we are encompassed with doubt, perplexed by circumstances, or afflicted by poverty or distress, Satan seeks to shake our confidence in God. It is then that he arrays before us our mistakes and tempts us to distrust God, to question his love. He hopes to discourage the soul, and break our hold on God; for he knows that once he succeeds in separating us from the source of our strength, he is sure of his prey. RH October 30, 1913, par. 9

Those who, standing in the front of the conflict, are impelled by the Spirit of God to do a special work, will frequently feel a reaction when the pressure is removed. Despondency may shake the most heroic faith, and weaken the most steadfast will. But God understands, and he still pities and loves his servants. He reads the motives and the purposes of the heart. To wait patiently, to trust when everything looks dark, is the lesson that every leader in God's work needs to learn. Heaven will not fail them in their day of adversity. Nothing is apparently more helpless yet really more invincible than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on God. RH October 30, 1913, par. 10

Not alone for men in positions of large responsibility is the lesson of Elijah's experience in learning anew how to trust God in the hour of trial. He who was Elijah's strength is strong to uphold every struggling child of his, no matter how weak. Of every one he expects loyalty, and to every one he grants power according to the need. In his own strength man is strengthless; but in the might of God he may be strong to overcome evil and to help others to overcome. Satan can never gain advantage of him who makes God his defense. “Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.... In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” RH October 30, 1913, par. 11

Fellow Christian, Satan knows your weakness; therefore cling to Jesus. Abiding in God's love, you may stand every test. The righteousness of Christ alone can give you power to stand against the tide of evil that is sweeping over the world. Bring faith into your experience. Faith lightens every burden, relieves every weariness. Providences that are now mysterious you may solve by continued trust in God. It is when God's people see no way of advance, when the Red Sea is before them and the pursuing army behind, that God bids them go forward. Thus he tests their faith. When such experiences come to you, go forward, trusting in Christ. Walk by faith in the path he marks out. Trials will come; but go forward. This will strengthen your faith in God, and fit you for service. The records of sacred history are written not merely that we might read and wonder, but that the same faith which wrought in God's servants of old may work in us. In no less marked a manner than he wrought then will he work now wherever there are hearts of faith to be channels of his power. RH October 30, 1913, par. 12

To us, as to Peter, the word is spoken, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Christ will never abandon those for whom he has died. We may leave him, and be overwhelmed with temptation; but Christ can never turn from one for whom he has paid the ransom of his own life. Could our spiritual vision be quickened, we should see souls bowed under oppression and burdened with grief, pressed as a cart beneath sheaves, and ready to die in discouragement. We should see angels flying quickly to the aid of these tempted ones. They force back the hosts of evil that encompass these souls, and place their feet on the sure foundation. The battles waging between the two armies are as real as those fought by the armies of this world, and on the issue of the spiritual conflict eternal destinies depend. RH October 30, 1913, par. 13

In the vision of the prophet Ezekiel there was the appearance of a hand beneath the wings of the cherubim. This is to teach God's servants that it is divine power that gives success. Those whom God employs as his messengers are not to feel that his work is dependent on them. Finite beings are not left to carry this burden of responsibility. He who slumbers not, who in every crisis has been the strength and dependence of his people, will carry out his eternal purpose. He will thwart the designs of wicked men, and will bring to confusion the counsels of those who plot mischief against his people. He who is the King, the Lord of hosts, sitteth between the cherubim, and amidst the strife and tumult of nations he guards his children still. When the strongholds of kings shall be overthrown, when the arrows of wrath shall strike through the hearts of his enemies, his people will be safe in his hands. RH October 30, 1913, par. 14

“Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: ... in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.” RH October 30, 1913, par. 15