1 Kings 19:8-12
Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”11 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. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Elijah had a great victory on Mount Carmel but then comes the valley of despair, the incredible low of wishing only to die. Defeat is often on the heels of victory for those who take their eyes off of God, those who trade faith for fear. Even when he wanted to give up God loves and care for Elijah, sending an angel with food and water and the instruction to sleep and rest. God knows our human limits our need for food, water, and rest something we can neglect in the battle. After being physically strengthened God sends Elijah on a journey to get alone with Him. He leads Elijah back to a mountain this time it is the mountain of God, Mount Sinai, for a different mountain top experience. Elijah had experienced the power of God on the mountain, he had seen the fire of God yet he had missed the heart of God. Elijah had to travel to be alone with God, it took effort and time something we think should just naturally happen. God invites us but it takes a willingness and determination to come away and be alone. Being alone with God is a journey from loneliness to aloneness from death to life.
I love the picture of the mountain of God, not only could it be found but it was accessible; it was big, majestic, immovable, a solid rock in an uncertain time. Where will you go when victory turns to failure and success evaporates into despair? Which mountain will you turn to, will it be God?
And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” I love God’s question and I think we need to answer that question as we get alone with God what are we doing here? What is our goal in being with God? Many of us have an agenda in our time with God we are after something? Is your goal to spend time with God or to get something from God? It’s about the relationship, about being with not getting from.
We often want the power of God to show up in the loud big flash, because that is where we believe the power is. God often shows up in the quiet whisper, and we fail to see the power of His whisper. Man’s first encounter with God was a gentle whisper, and the gentle breath of God caused man to become a living being! There is not only power in His gentle whisper but there is life. Like Adam we too are dead and need the gentle whisper of God to resurrect our lives.
What brought Elijah out of his cave was not the wind, earthquake, or the fire but the gentle whisper of God. May be like Elijah you’re stuck in your cave, it could be a cave of despair, grief, loneliness, anger, bitterness, pride. It really doesn’t matter what you cave is they are all the same, dark places where we end up holed up, places that God did not intend for us to do life in. God invites you out of your cave into His presence will you respond to His gentle whisper.