““Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, 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 there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”
1 Kings 19:11-13
God asked Elijah a question two times, “what are you doing here?” Elijah response was the same both times. A defensive yet completely human response. He was scared. He was scared because Jezebel had issued a death warrant for his life and he was the only God-fearing prophet let to represent the One True God. However, God’s questions searched deeper into Elijah’s heart than just what he was physically doing on Mount Sinai.
In verse 4 of chapter 19 Elijah prays to God that his life might end, comparing his life to that of his ancestors. He had enough of being chased by King Ahab and Jezebel and he felt drained that Israel had turned their back on God. Yet God had clearly given Elijah a clear call to defend Him and turn the people back to Him. When God encountered Elijah on the mountain, His question could be interpreted as “why are you running away from what I am calling you to do?”
As God tells Elijah to go out and meet Him, He sent three signs of judgement (wind, earthquakes and fire were often seen as signs of God’s judgements), yet in each of those signs, He was not there. Instead God was found in the still small voice, in the gentle whisper. This highlights that God was not angry with Elijah but understood what he was going through. Not only was God gracious in His response to Elijah but also promised him 7,000 more faithful Israelites and an assistant to help, Elisha.
When we feel alone, scared and even daunted by the task God has given us to do, let us remember this story. Let us remember that God is gracious, He doesn’t get angry with us and more importantly, He equips us to do the task He has called us to do. Where God leads, He equips. Where He guides, He provides!!