Do you remember the story of the prophet who went on a killing frenzy, singlehandedly slaughtering 450 prophets of Baal, and then outrunning a horse drawn chariot that was running at full speed, across the desert? This happened just after an insane contest between the God of Elijah and Baal. All of Israel had assembled for the show-down, including their wicked king, Ahab. Watching Elijah that day, must have been like watching a starved lion, set loose among fresh prey. He acted like a man who had lost all inhibition, and was consumed with a determined, fiery passion that could not be restrained or quenched. He taunted and mocked those evil, false prophets who had spent years revelling in greed and blood lust, constantly driving a wedge between God and His people. But on this day, all of Israel stood by and watched their God prove His sovereignty in a dramatic display of fire and bloodshed. The prophet Elijah acted as the human extension of the powerful, unseen God, Who refused to be mocked and set aside a moment longer!
So you can understand my bewilderment, when I discovered this mighty, ferocious Elijah, who acted so fearlessly, ends up, just a few days later, hiding in a cave, in fear of a woman! I laughed out loud when I read this. Seriously? After that outlandish demonstration of God’s power at work through this man, what was he doing sulking, and shaking in fear, hiding in a dark cave from the threats of a woman? Talk about coming down and hitting rock bottom, after being on such a tremendous high! Well, when we read on, we see how God once again remembers our fragile, fickle humanity, and carefully builds His prophet’s faith in Him again. 1 Kings 19 tells how God leads Elijah to stand just before the the opening of the cave. Here He gives him a brilliant, personal display of His power. The show includes spectacular, special effects, of a mighty wind that causes the rocks on the mountains around him to shatter. But the Lord was not in the wind. Then an earthquake, violently shook the place, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then a fierce fire begins to burn, with dangerous, huge tongues reaching out, all around it, but the Lord was not in the fire. Now look at what verse 12 and 13 says, “... and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice. When Elijah heard the voice, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, What are you doing here, Elijah?”
There is nothing more important to any child of God, than hearing God’s voice whispered in our hearts. But why do we insist on cluttering our lives with things that distract us from the very presence of God? Why is it that all too quickly we forget Who He is to us as we allow our circumstances to overwhelm us? I have to say, this story of Elijah strikes a chord in my heart. It brings me back to the essence of our faith. To know and hear that still, small voice is what puts everything into perspective. In an instant, every doubt and fear is washed away, and we stand before Him in a glorious vulnerability, completely surrendered to His care. It’s a place of absolute trust and safety. Where we know and are known.
Perhaps it’s time to come aside from the noise and the business of things. Even those things that appear to have Him in them, but in reality don’t. Let’s go where we are alone, in the quite place of His presence, so that we can hear His still, small voice resonate in our spirits, and flood into every crevice of our souls. Let Him ask the questions we need to hear, and breath the answers we seek to know.