Title: Listen for the Quiet Voice in the Storms
Text: 1 Kings 19:1-15a
(Elijah was one of the greatest Prophets (special messengers) anointed by God to deal with the wrongs in the land of Israel. In the setting of this passage, the king and queen wanted to kill Elijah for killing all the false prophets that the king and queen listened to instead of God’s prophets, who they had executed except for Elijah…)
Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, including the massacre of the prophets. Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow you’ll be as dead as any one of those prophets.”
When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah…then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!”
Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush. Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”
He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep. The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”
He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep. Then the word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?”
“I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?”
Elijah said it again, “I’ve been working my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert…”
Truth: There will be times in your life when you may face the anger of certain people who are opposed to the ways of God that you know to be right and true. There may even be times when your stand for what God has taught you will cause their anger to turn against you personally. However, if you will not abandon God, God will never abandon you, and He will even strengthen you so that you will be able to stand for God and His truth.
Application: As this passage reveals, God is not to be found in the storms of life – He was not found in the stormy winds, the earthquakes, or the fires that Elijah saw. God comes to us in a whisper – a small, quiet voice that causes us to quit our fussing and complaining so we can hear him speak to our heart, soul and mind. When we have troubles in our life, God uses His Spirit’s voice to guide us so that we can trust Him even more, and to know He is not the source of the troubles. There will always be storms in our life, but God will not speak to you through the storms. He will use the storms in our life to help us seek Him.
As you read this passage you will find that God sent His angel to help Elijah and to encourage him, and cares for you too, if you will continue to seek after Him. God knows this life can be stressful and challenging, and as you get older you will understand the tough choices we will need to make, because you will learn that every choice comes with a consequence for good or bad purposes. But whether our choice has led us into a good or bad consequence, God always works to reveal His good, pleasing and awesome love for you.
I hope you will never feel so bad about your life that you will want to just die like Elijah did, but take heart: God sent His angel to encourage Elijah and give him a message and mission of hope. As the rest of the story reveals, if you continue to read in the following chapters that follow, Elijah is used by God to help His people to be freed from the evil leadership of the king and queen. Then, when Elijah’s mission was complete, God had Elijah taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. Wow…what a way for God to say thank you to Elijah for not giving up! My hope is that no matter what storms may arise in your lives, you will never, never, never quit on God, because He will never give up on you and will take care of you, if only you will trust in Him and listen for His quiet voice to guide you through the storms.