Summary: As we see Elijah in the cave on Mount Horeb we also witness the hand of God in the wind, earthquake and fire but we only hear the LORD speaking in the still, small voice or the gentle whisper. Why did the LORD not speak loudly but only whisper?
Refresher from last week:
Major characters - Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel
Spiritual condition of Israel at that time
1 Kings 18:18b NIV
“You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals.”
Last week we saw that Elijah:
- Faceoff with Ahab - no rain unless I say so!
- The LORD sends E. to Sidon - a pagan city
- The LORD provides for E. through a widow
- The LORD sends E. back to Ahab
- E. challenges prophets of Baal to see who is the real God
- The LORD sends rain
- Jezebel’s threat
- E. runs for his life
- Horeb, the mountain of God, spending the night in a cave
1 Kings 19:9-18 NIV (read from the Bible with people following - only put the reference on the projection)
OK. So where did we leave it last week?
1 Kings 19:9b - (read from the Bible)
“And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Do you think that Elijah is going to have to think about his answer?
No Way!!! Elijah has been churning over the reasons in his head for the last forty days and nights!
He knows exactly what he’s going to say!
And here’s Elijah’s reply to the Lord!
1 Kings 19:10 NIV (Read from the Bible)
“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.”
Elijah had experienced many victories by the hand of the Lord
Now, he’s in a cave and the Lord says, “Come out here to the mouth of the cave. I want to show you something!”
OK. Now this is not the first time the LORD has demonstrated His power and greatness at Horeb, the Mountain of God.
Mount Horeb is where Moses met with the Lord in the burning bush.
At Mount Horeb the Lord provided water from a rock for all of the nation of Israel
At Mount Horeb (AKA Mount Sinai) the Lord gave the Ten Commandments
Exodus 19:16-20 NIV
“On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain.”
1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV (read from the Bible)
“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.
“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came 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.”
In verse 11 Elijah is instructed to “go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord” and we assume that he was obedient and did as he was told. But if you look at verse 13 it says that when Elijah heard the gentle whisper, “he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”
I don’t know about you but if I was standing on a mountain near a cave and a wind came up that tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks and then an earthquake and then a great fire I’d probably run back into the cave myself. Wouldn’t you???
The Lord had gotten Elijah's attention but He did not speak to Elijah through shouting at him using natural events. The Lord spoke to Elijah in a whisper.
1 Kings 19:12b-13 NIV - read from the Bible
“After the fire came 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?’”