Scripture Thought: “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. 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.” I Kings 19:11-13
Elijah, the prophet of God, is hiding in a cave to escape the evil Queen Jezebel’s edict to kill him for proclaiming the message of God. To be perfectly honest, I would have been right beside him. It’s not easy standing up proclaiming words from scripture when the tide of political correctness is against you. In verse 9 of I Kings 19, the Lord came to Elijah and asked what he was doing in the cave? Have you had those moments when you’ve hidden from your current situation and questioned the Creator of heaven and earth wondering if deliverance was on the horizon? Evidently, we aren’t alone; Elijah shared those feelings and took up residence in a cave.
God’s desire is to bring us out of despair; therefore He instructs Elijah to head to the mouth of the cave and stand on the mountain in His presence and watch as He passed by. Tremendous acts of nature explode, but it appears Elijah is stuck in the cave of doubt not appreciating the three displays of majesty taking place within his reach. First, God sends a great and powerful wind; so powerful that the mountains are torn apart and the rocks are shattered! Don’t you think you might be peeping from behind your laced crossed fingers?
Those the turbulent wind funnels were followed by the second display of majesty; an earthquake, but Elijah remains clinging to the side of his cave, fingers embedded in those dirt walls. Finally, a fire erupts. In all honesty, if these three events happened on the heels of one another, I’d probably be so far back in the cave seeking shelter it would have taken a week to find me or the entrance. However, scripture notes the fire gave way to a gentle whisper. It was then Elijah proceeded to the entrance of the cave to commune with God.
Although numerous lessons pour from these verses, a main point to be emphasized is God deals with each of us in differently. Just as we have varying personalities and spiritual gifts, so are our personal situations God uses to teach and mold us. He might speak in a turbulent encounter as demonstrated by the wind which tore apart mountains and shattered rocks, or an earthquake occurrence which breaks our stubborn will; while another walks through an all consuming fire of intense trials. Whatever the circumstance or event, if we quiet our activities and our multitasking lifestyles, God will speak in a gentle whisper. Why a whisper, you ask? Maybe it's during those times when we finally realize there is nothing humanly possible we can do to change our status or situation, we decide to quiet our hearts and minds and simply listen. Our Creator, our Father in Heaven will guide us through those challenging and arduous times to the quiet shores of His waiting arms.
Lord, train our ears to hear your voice and never delay coming when you call. When faced with opposition, doubts and worry assist us with courage and wisdom to follow your direction. Only when we are fully immersed in your Word will we be strengthened to face our foes. Use us to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.