I just finished reading your story in the book of 1 Kings, chapters 17-19. I imagine you standing at the entrance of the cave in Horeb watching the LORD pass by. What was that like?!
Your story has me reflecting…
You simply did what the Word of the Lord said to do. In the end, when you were burned out, discouraged and afraid – in that moment of despair, God passed by. He reminded you, Elijah, He isn’t in the great wind. He isn’t in the earthquake; He isn’t in the fire. He’s actually IN the gentle whisper. That gentle whisper that said to you, “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith…” That gentle whisper that said, “Arise and go to Zarephath…” And again, that gentle whisper that said “Go, show yourself to Ahab and I will send rain upon the earth…” That same voice also whispered to you twice, as you ran for your life from that lady Jezebel, “What are you doing here, Elijah? I see you discouraged and thinking you are the only one left who loves me. But I will leave 7,000 people in Israel who’s knees have never bowed to Baal and whose lips have never kissed him.” (paraphrasing of course)
Yes, Elijah, calling down fire from Heaven was AMAZING!! You struck down 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah, proving Jehovah to be the ONE TRUE GOD! It was monumental! But, don’t forget, that journey began back in Gilead when the Lord told you to tell Ahab there would be no morsel of water except at your word. Without your obedient departure to the brook Cherith, that slaughter of false prophets may have never happened! Remember how you faithfully followed the word of the Lord to the widow? When God gently whispered to you to go to Zarephath – What/whom did you expect to find? A richly adorned woman eager to take in a humble prophet? Maybe someone the Lord had already prepared and spoken to? Instead, you were greeted and received, mind you, by a poor, desolate widow, gathering morsels for her last meal. What would have happened to that lady if you hadn’t obeyed the word of the Lord? Would she have lived to see the next sunrise? And what of her son when he fell ill? He would have missed you laying prostrate across his body and calling on healing from the ONE TRUE GOD for his life. The Lord listened to your prayer and brought him back to life! And because of that his mother proclaimed, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the Word of the Lord in your mouth is true.”
So, yes, Elijah, the fire from Heaven was miraculous and awe-inspiring – but the true mark of your character to me, was all those day to day moments you listened and obeyed the whisper of God. Don’t confuse the two. I pray for faith like that for the everyday. To hear God whisper His word to me and the Will to obey it. Maybe I’ll call fire down from Heaven one day and prove to hundreds Jehovah is the ONE TRUE GOD. Or maybe, I’ll encourage a handful to remain faithful in the small things and look to Heaven for guidance and ultimate fulfillment. Thank you Elijah, for your example.