3 Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” – 1 Kings 19:3-14
Wow! There is more in this story than I realized. I’d always been fascinated by the still small voice and that is plenty, but this morning I was prompted to read more of the story and I found myself in it. Have you ever been afraid? Have you ever found yourself running? If you didn’t run, did you feel like it? Did you ever want to run so you found ways to run that weren’t quite as overt as simply packing up and heading out? Did you even realize that was what you were doing until you received a tap on the shoulder?
I love what happened in this story long before Elijah even gets to the still small voice of God. I love it because I see incredible hope in it during the storms of life. I love it because I find myself in a funk and I feel like this story is a tap on my shoulder just like the one Elijah got from the angel…GET UP!…and then he did and then he fell asleep…GET UP!!…eat…drink…this journey is going to be long and hard…you need your strength…here it is!!! Elijah was ready to give up. He had called out to God and he was done. He just wanted to lay down and be done, but God wasn’t done with him.
He gave him the strength to keep going and then….and then he kept running…straight into a cave.
And God meets him there and tells Him to get into His Presence…
And all hell breaks loose…
Do you ever feel like this? Have you ever set your face to God and then all hell broke loose around you, or so it seemed? Have you ever set aside purposed time to just be in His Presence and listen for His voice only to be blasted by the NOISE? I’ve read this passage many times and longed to hear that still small voice myself. I’ve felt a nudge from Him to spend purposed time alone with Him. I’ve asked Him to speak so I can hear Him. He has promised that His sheep hear his voice. So I go into my cave and I wait and then it happens….the NOISE!!!!
I wonder how long those things lasted? I wonder how long Elijah was in the cave waiting for those things to pass? I wonder if he ever wondered how long it was going to take before the voice actually came? I wonder if he sat huddled in anticipation or more fear? I wonder if he ever wondered if he had heard wrong? I wonder if he wished for those things to go away?
And then….the still small voice and the solution.
I don’t know what the wind and the earthquake and the fire represented. I am always curious to know because I think God puts every detail in the book for a reason. I think He hides hidden meaning behind everything He says. I think He leaves room to dive deeper than the print on the page.
I find it curious that the Holy Spirit has a way of breathing into our lives, shaking things up, burning away the dross and then whispering the answers we need to the problems we face…
So…today…I will get up…again…I will eat and drink of all that He has provided for strength for MY journey and I will continue to listen for His voice and trust in His process in the world around me.