Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. I Kings 19:11-12
These verses describe a time when God displayed His power for Elijah’s eyes only. Do you remember the events that led up to this?
Elijah had boldly faced down the prophets of Baal, witnessed God’s fire consuming the sacrifice, executed the false prophets, and raced Ahab’s chariot on foot—and won!
Then Jezebel threatened his life, and Elijah panicked. He headed into the wilderness and ended up at Horeb—the same place where Moses encountered a burning bush.
There, God found Elijah sheltering in a cave. He decided it was time for a face-to-face and began with a question.
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” I Kings 19:13
How often the Lord begins His conversations with powerful, pointed questions.
- “Simon, do you love Me more than these?”
- “Who has touched my clothes?”
- “Do you want to get well?”
- “Were you there when I laid the earth’s foundation?”
- “Who told you that you were naked?”
His words aim to rip away pretense and reveal us to ourselves. Because so often it’s easier to know what’s in God’s heart than to understand our own.
Twice God asked the same question. Twice Elijah gave the same answer—that he perceived his ministry as fruitless and the cost of serving God as more than he could pay.
So God revealed Elijah’s utter despair, but to what purpose?
Perhaps Elijah disbelieved that anyone could remain unchanged after a miraculous encounter—until this day.
Perhaps he resented God giving a fifth or fiftieth or hundred and fiftieth chance to the likes of Ahab and Jezebel—until that same Father forbore to rebuke Elijah’s faithlessness and instead sent angels to feed him and watch over him while he slept.
Perhaps Elijah judged men’s hearts as beyond hope—until he saw the hardness of his own.
And for us, all these centuries later? Let’s be amazed anew at how God plumbs the depths of our treacherous hearts, “judges our thoughts and intentions,” and cherishes us no matter what He reveals.
For Further Thought
- How has God met your heart-needs this week?
- Is there a wrong heart-attitude you feel God prompting you to change?
- What verse is a good reminder that we can trust God with our hearts?
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