I have always enjoyed reading about Elijah. Perhaps it is because of fond memories of Sunday School stories with vibrant flannel-graph story pieces. Or perhaps it is because, like Moses, he spoke with God. And like Moses, God passed before him…while he was hiding in a cave.
“Then he came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ And he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.'” ~ 1 Kings 19:9-10
I love this. God asked Elijah what he was doing there. God already knew, but He wanted to hear what Elijah had to say. Elijah knew he was talking to God, and that God already knew everything, yet he still explained his situation and circumstances, and proceeded to justify his actions to the LORD!
I can see myself doing that…in fact, I know I do that at times. Hmm.
“So He said, ‘Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountain and breaking in pieces the rocks 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 sound of a gentle blowing.” ~ 1 Kings 19:11-12
“And behold, the LORD was passing by!” An exclamation point is used to emphasize this- the LORD was passing by! Wow.
Can you imagine the terror that the natural disasters brought to Elijah while he was hiding in his cave?!? There was a terrible, destructive wind- the mountain crumbled- “but the LORD was not in the wind”. Next came an earthquake, “but the LORD was not in the earthquake”. This was followed by a fire- in the dry wilderness- “but the LORD was not in the fire”.
The King James Version reads “And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” ~ 1 Kings 19:12. How wonderful- a still small voice.
“and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing”. God chose to come to Elijah in a gentle blowing, the calm after the storms.
Sometimes God uses terrible, frightening circumstances to get our attention. Then, in the quiet, He speaks to us in a still, small voice. He does not yell. He talks gently, as a father to a child, a husband to a wife. Will we choose to listen?
“And it came about when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?'” ~ 1 Kings 19:13
Elijah recognized the gentle blowing, the quiet stillness, as God. And believe it or not, he gave the exact same answer to God in verse 14 as in verse 10! But perhaps his heart was a bit more open and ready to hear what God had to say, his spirit more humble and teachable, his mind ready to recognize his own weakness and God’s incredible, unending strength. God could take care of Elijah. God could protect him from Jezebel.
What am I afraid of in this life? What am I doing here? Why am I hiding? I need to pay attention to the gentle blowing of God’s voice, come out from my “cave”, and listen to His still small voice.