Read 1 Kings 18-19 for the backgrounder. It’s an awesome story.
I finally understood the thing about the wind, earthquake, fire, and whisper.
Elijah wasn’t just some coward the way we always make him how to be. People always say “How could you lose faith after such an awesome miracle on carmel?” “How could this man run away like that as if nothing happened?”
But that’s precisely it. He thought that the hearts of Israel would be turned completely to the Lord after that. He thought King Ahab would be totally convinced. Jezebel too. He thought his days of running would be over because the Lord proved that Baal was no god, slaughtered all baal’s prophets, and finally sent rain. That should’ve been it. That awesome display of power and authority should’ve done the job. Or so Elijah thought.
But this is what happened. When Elijah came back to Jezreel there was a messenger that came to him with a message from Jezebel the Queen… Jezebel the Prophet-Killer. Basically she was saying “YOURE DEAD!”. Jezebel was still after him, no one in israel would stand up for him, and it was as if nothing happened. He thought everything would change, that everything would be different after that showcase on the mountain. Apparently, nothing changed. He was still on the run. Israel was still steeped in their sin and their hearts were not turned towards God.
So Elijah ran away. And God intercepted him and basically said “If you’re running away, let’s meet together on top of that mountain over there”. And then that famous encounter with Earth, Wind and Fire happened. God asked Elijah “What are you doing here”. It was like he was asking “Why did you run away? Why are you so disappointed? What did you think would happen? Did you really think that after Carmel, everyone would turn to me? Let me teach you something. I want you to stand at the mouth of the cave because I am coming.”
First there was a great wind. But God wasn’t in the wind. Elijah knew it. So Elijah didn’t move.
Then there was a great earthquake. Elijah knew that God wasn’t in there either.
Then there was a great fire. You know these things don’t happen everyday my friend. But Elijah knew God wasn’t in the fire so he stayed put.
Then there was a gentle whisper. Elijah knew that whisper. He went out. God really was there. And God asked him again “Elijah, what are you doing here”
By then, I think Elijah was getting the point. What point is that? This whole thing, that’s God’s way of saying- yes these grand miracles I’ve done- sending a blazing fire on the flooded altar consuming the sacrifice and the 12 tankfulls of water, and a great rain I sent after 7 years of drought… these are magnificent and tell of my grandeur. But what changes the hearts of men is my gentle whisper. I do it subtly. I speak to each of them. The grand miracles change their minds but only for a day. I am found in the whispers in their hearts. And that’s how I change the hearts of men.
God was trying to console Elijah’s disappointment that the big miracles didn’t seem to work. He reminded Elijah that HE was still at work. That the story doesn’t end there. It never really does.
Think about it, after all the plagues in Egypt, Pharoah’s heart was still hard. We’re always expecting these big miracles to change the world. God still does them to show the world how great he is. But the more awesome thing about God is that there’s that gentle whisper- maybe not all hear, or maybe all hear but do not respond. God is in the whisper. And God is whispering now.
How about you? What do you look for everyday? Earth, Wind and Fire? Or God’s voice? What do you think will change the world at the end of the day? Earth, Wind and Fire? Oh that will change the world alright. But not the hearts of men. If you want your heart to change, look for that whisper. If you want to join God in changing the world, look for that whisper. I have no doubt that miracles can surround your life if you truly believe. But what’s greater than the Wind, greater than the Earthquake, greater than the Fire, is the gentle whisper of God’s voice, speaking his word of truth.
Take heart and know that this story isn’t over yet. When you are disappointed that change hasn’t come. Remember that God is still whisper, and the world needs to hear it.
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