There are some general statements that we can make about all people and one of them is that sooner or later we will all be "alone with God". It does not matter who you are, what you have, or even if you don't believe in God. Do you know what will happen? Do you know what He will ask you? We will get the answer to those questions as we look at the story of Elijah fleeing to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19).
Before we get into that, a little background on what was happening at the time: Ahab became king of Israel and he married Jezebel the daughter of the king of the Sidonians. She introduced Baal worship and Ahab went along with it even setting up a temple and altar for Baal worship. Jezebel was searching out and killing the prophets of God. During this time, Elijah became well known for being a bold prophet of God. He even went so far as to hold a contest between himself and the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel. At that time, he humiliated them and had them slaughtered by the crowd. After those events, Jezebel made a death threat to Elijah and he fled into the desert area of Beersheba. When he was tired, hungry, and depressed, the Lord sent an angel to strengthen him and tell him to go to Mt. Horeb to meet with God. We pick up with the story as Elijah arrives at Mt Horeb:
(1 Kings 19:9 - 11a) Elijah slept in the cave the night he arrived and received a vision or dream in which God told him to go to the mouth of the cave as He was about to pass by. This cave was the same as the "cleft in the rock" in which Moses waited as God passed by him in Ex. 33:22. We also remember that, while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Commandments, the mountain rumbled and there was fire on top.
(1 Kings 19:11b - 13a) We see that there was wind, an earthquake, and fire but God was not in any of them. After them came a "gentle whisper" which is where the translation "still small voice" comes from and the concept of God speaking in a whisper to His people.
The Hebrew words that are translated as "still small voice" are "qol damah daqah" which is better translated as "voice of silence". We remember that Elijah is alone in the desert and, if you have never been to a desert where you are alone, it is hard to describe the silence that you can actually feel. So, basically, when the wind, fire, and quaking had stopped (which by the way is what Elijah expected the presence of God to be like) there was this silence that you could feel. Elijah, being a man of God, recognized that this silence was God even though it was not what he expected and he went to the mouth of the cave to meet with God. In this silence, the words "ma lekha po" were given to Elijah by God. We do not know whether it was an actual whisper or whether God communicated them directly to Elijah's spirit but, personally, I believe it was the latter. "ma lekha po" when properly and literally translated means "who are you here" That was probably not what Elijah was expecting to hear as we see in the next verse. (1 Kings 19:14)
That brings us to the heart of the matter and here is basically what God was revealing to Elijah:
He had the recognition of the people as a "man of God" and, as people, we like to have that but, in reality, that is just background noise in our relationship with God. For you and me, we may have the public profile of a member of some local church and may even be considered a leader but what really matters is the health of your personal relationship with God. Many times, people confuse the two things and all the focus is put on the public profile of a person. God's focus is much more personal.
So, what was revealed about Elijah in 1 Kings 19? When it got right down to it he was a child of and recognized the voice of God even when it was not what he expected. This is what Jesus was talking about when He said "My sheep listen to my voice;" (John 10:27) I've got a little story that demonstrates this really well. A few years ago, I went to Israel for the first time and I walked on The Jesus Trail from Nazareth to Cana. Just outside of Nazareth, I saw what I thought was a very strange sight. I saw a shepherd and a flock of sheep travelling and this modern shepherd had a iPhone that held his gaze as he would go ahead of the sheep not even looking at them. Now and again, he would simply utter a one word call to the sheep and they would immediately respond and get closer to him. Most of the time he did not even look up from his phone. That sight really helped me to understand the meaning of Jesus' words.
Whether you get some "alone time" with God now or wait until Judgment Day, each of us will be asked the same question that was asked of Elijah: Ma lekha po? "Who are you here" when it is just you and God.
Will your answer be that you are a child of God because of Jesus Christ or will you try to come up with another answer. In Matthew 7:21 - 23, we see that there will be people that try to claim the relationship based on their works instead of the work of Jesus on the cross. We also see that the result from that answer is a one way ticket to hell.
Today, I urge you to seek in your heart the answer to Ma lekha po. After you have settled the question in your own heart, I would also urge you to share the same question with everyone that you care about and even people that you do not know. Would you want them to have to come up with an answer on Judgment Day with eternity on the line?
We have created a resource to help you to share this question with everyone that you come into contact with and you do not even have to open your mouth first. Just wear our t-shirt and let people ask you what it means. When they ask, share this meditation with them and urge them to answer the question today!