God’s Gentle Whisper
1 Kings 19:1-18; Prophets and Kings, pp. 167-176
I will listen to God’s gentle whisper.
“Your ears will hear a voice . . . saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).
One night Shanika was alone in her bedroom trying to go to sleep. Every shadow seemed to move. She felt afraid. Then her mother came into the room. Her gentle voice helped Shanika calm down.
A long time ago God’s prophet Elijah became frightened too. Then God spoke to him in a quiet voice.
Elijah was running for his life. King Ahab’s wife, the wicked Queen Jezebel, was trying to kill him. Elijah was so scared that he had forgotten that God could protect him from the wicked queen. Instead, for 40 days he ran hundreds of miles into the desert. Finally he came to Mount Horeb. There he hid in a cave.
“What are you doing here?” God asked him.
You can tell Elijah felt sorry for himself by the way he answered God. “I have worked very hard for You, Lord,” he said. “The Israelites have rejected You. They have broken down Your altars and killed Your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me, too.”
Elijah was telling God: “I worked hard for You. See how tired and discouraged I feel?”
So God replied: “Go stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” This was God’s way of saying, “Elijah, come here. I want to talk to you.”
Elijah did as God said. Then a great wind tore through the mountains and shattered the rocks. But Elijah didn’t get up, because he didn’t hear God’s voice in the wind. God was not in the strong wind.
Next an earthquake shook the mountain. But Elijah still didn’t get up. He didn’t hear God in the earthquake. After the earthquake a terrible fire swept by. But still Elijah didn’t hear God’s voice. God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire.
After all those powerful forces of nature, a gentle whisper came. Some Bible translations call it a “still small voice.” And in that gentle whisper Elijah recognized God’s voice. He pulled his coat over his face. Then he stood at the cave entrance to listen to God.
Again God asked Elijah the same question. “What are you doing here?” And Elijah gave his same “poor-me” answer.
God wasn’t angry at Elijah for giving up and running away. God wasn’t angry because Elijah forgot to trust Him. God’s gentle whisper spoke of God’s love. God loved Elijah, even when he felt sorry for himself. Gently God encouraged the tired prophet. Then He sent him back to work. And God assured Elijah that he was not alone. And he wasn’t, for God still had 7,000 faithful worshippers in Israel.