1 King 19:9-15
There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke 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 the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.
The prophet Elijah has fled to a cave to hide from the persecution of Jezebel. Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab who did not walk in the way of the Lord. Jezebel had slaughtered the prophets of God, except for one hundred who Obadiah, the overseer of Ahab’s household hid in caves.
King Ahab had the people worship false gods, mainly the false god Baal and Elijah had been sent to defeat the prophets of Baal. If you read 1 Kings 18:20-40, you will learn how Elijah humiliated and slaughtered these prophets of a false god and turned Israel away from Baal.
When Jezebel found out about what Elijah had done she left him know that she was going to do to him what he had done to her false prophets. So Elijah hightailed it out of there and hid in a cave.
Now in the verses sited above God asks Elijah what he is doing. Elijah explains what has happened and why he is hiding in the cave. God then tells Elijah to go stand outside the cave and wait for further words from God.
Elijah witnesses a great wind that tears pieces of rock from the mountain. You can imagine it must have been pretty loud and intense. Next Elijah witnesses an earthquake, again another loud, intense and catastrophic event, but still there was no word from God. Finally Elijah witnesses a fire, and I assume it was massive, but no word from God.
You have three major events that one would expect this is how God would reveal his word. You would be looking for it to be on the scale of a big budget, high production, Hollywood blockbuster, action/adventure film. But there was nothing.
After these three grand events, how do the word of God come to Elijah?
And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
The word of the Lord came to Elijah in a whisper. It was not a thunderous boom or with the fanfare of trumpets. It was a whisper.
How many of us after waiting through a great wind storm, earthquake and a fire storm, would assume that if it didn’t come with any of those events, well then it’s just not coming? How many would have packed it up and gone home and missed the subtle message that was being presented?
We all go through life expecting the word of God to come to us like an announcer over the PA system at a sporting event. We expect it to be something that will slap us in the face, knock us down and shake us by the shoulders as it screams in our face, pay attention this is important. Sometimes it does and we still miss it.
But it usually comes to us as it did to Elijah that day in the cave. It comes to us as a low whisper. And even though the words spoken that day to Elijah were only a whisper, they were important. Elijah was being told who to anoint as the next king of Syria.
The importance of a message is not in relationship to the volume that it is delivered.
So each day we must pay attention for the voice of God, which may come to us in a low whisper.
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