“And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 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?’” 1 Kings 19:12-13 (NLT/NIV)
God got Elijah’s attention on the mountain with the great wind, the earthquake, and the fire, but He wasn’t in any of these spectacular events. It would not be in the sensational experiences of life, but in the struggles that God would speak, through a gentle whisper, to the heart of His prophet. When you’re going through a struggle listen for God’s gentle whisper. God was right there with Elijah, through it all, walking with him through his pain. Elijah wasn’t where he was supposed to be, but God was right there with him.
To hear a whisper, you have to really listen. When Elijah heard it, he knew it was God. God was passing by as He said He would. It brought Elijah out of the cave. What did God say to his discouraged prophet? “Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” 1 Kings 19:13b (NIV)
Maybe God is asking you the same question? What are you doing here? I think its interesting that God asked Elijah a question. He didn’t rebuke him or give him instructions. He simply drew him out with a question to engage him. Elijah responded, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with You, torn down Your altars, and killed every one of Your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 1 Kings 19:14 (NLT)
Elijah’s response revealed his pride and self-pity. Notice the personal pronouns used in his response. It makes him appear as if he was the only one left in all of Israel who was faithful to God and that all of Israel had broken their covenant with Him. Now they all wanted to kill him as they had all God’s prophets. The truth is only Jezebel wanted him dead. He may have wanted to resign but God wasn’t done. The gentle whisper of God would change everything! I love the way Pastor and author, Warren Wiersbe, comments on this passage:
“In this day of mammoth meetings, loud music, and high-pressure promotion, it’s difficult for some people to understand that God rarely works by means of the dramatic and the colossal. When He wanted to start the Jewish nation, He sent a baby—Isaac; and when He wanted to deliver that nation from bondage, He sent another baby—Moses. He sent a teenager named David to kill the Philistine giant, and the boy used a sling and a stone to do it. When God wanted to save a world, He sent His Son as a weak and helpless baby; and today, God seeks to reach that world through the ministry of “earthen vessels” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (kjv). Dr. J. Oswald Sanders states that “the whispers from Calvary are infinitely more potent than the thunder of Sinai in bringing men to repentance.” (The Bible Exposition Commentary)
Elijah’s experience teaches us two important truths:
- God uses our greatest struggles to get our attention
- God uses a gentle whisper to call us close.
Tomorrow we’ll see what God said to Elijah that revived his heart, renewed his vision and restored his ministry.