“And there he (Elijah) went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; And behold the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
“So he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts; For the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; And they seek to take my life.’
“Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains, and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;
“And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; And after the fire a still small voice.”
(1 Kings 19:9-12)
This is a phenomenal story.
Get ready. It might bless your socks off!
First, a little backstory…
The prophet Elijah had just defeated 450 prophets of Baal in a spectacular competition to see who the One True God is: Baal or El Shaddai, the Lord Almighty. Elijah won in an awesome display of God’s power.
Now the bad news.
Her name is Jezebel.
Jezebel was King Ahab’s wife. She made it her mission to destroy Elijah, the prophet of God. (Side note: Rev. 2:20 warns us that in the latter days the spirit of Jezebel will be released to influence congregations to worship other “gods” – to not obey the commandments of the Lord our God. Ever wonder what’s happening to our churches today? Just sayin’…)
Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah and told him that by the next day he would be dead. Verse 3 says that Elijah “arose and ran for his life.”
Gotta love the humanness of Elijah! Remember, he had just had enough faith to challenge 450 prophets of Baal and win. But one woman threatens to kill him and he runs for his life.
Then he had a pity party.
Verse 4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life for I am no better than my fathers!'”
Poor baby! “It is enough, Lord!” I know just how he feels! Do you? Have you ever been in the throws of battle, exhibit enormous faith, and then fall to your knees in ultimate defeat because of one little fiery dart from the enemy? Okay. Maybe it was a big flaming arrow, but still, the principle is the same. Have you experienced this? Maybe that’s where you are right now.
What was God’s response to His faithful servant? God sent an angel to bring him food and water – twice. Now Elijah had the strength to continue on his journey. Elijah was fleeing to Mt. Horeb, which is another name for Mt. Sinai, the mountain of God. Elijah was going to the very place where God had revealed Himself to Moses and the children of Israel. I believe he was desperate for God’s comfort.
“And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him…” (verse 9).
The Lord told Elijah to go out and stand on the mountain before Him. And then the Lord displayed His mighty power through a windstorm, an earthquake and a fire. But God was not in any of these as he had been when he revealed himself at various times to Moses and the children of Israel.
No. The scripture says (verse 12) that “after the fire a still small voice.” My marginal notes say, “a delicate whispering voice.”
“A delicate whispering voice.”
God revealed Himself to this broken servant in a delicate whispering voice.
Do you have goosebumps?
El Shaddai revealed Himself to Elijah in gentleness. Why? Because Elijah was discouraged, overwhelmed, battered and bruised. The warrior was a child at this point, a child of God.
Isn’t the Lord wonderful?
He affirmed Elijah.
He comforted Elijah.
He restored Elijah.
And He instructed Elijah in the way he should go.
Aren’t you amazed at the goodness of God?
Father, I am overcome with love at this moment. Thank You for letting us see this side of You. And thank You for letting us see the frustration and fear of such a powerful man of God as Elijah. It’s good to know that even our heroes had bad days and times of discouragement. And it is wonderful to know that You responded to his despondency with tenderness that only a Father could give. You are awesome, Lord. We love and adore You and bless Your Holy Name!