I Kings 19: 11-13 "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks 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. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"
Poor Elijah! Like many of the prophets he had become discouraged, or just downright depressed. He had just had a glorious time on Mt. Carmel demonstrating the power of God to the Israelites and defeating the prophets of Baal, but now he was having his Mt. Carmel meltdown. Queen Jezebel had him on the run. He had decided that no one but him was left of those who served the God Most High. Surely, all the rest had been conquered by Baal worship.
Maybe Elijah thought that since the whole land had fallen to Baal worship that the best thing for him to do was to go back to the beginning and see if he could get God to start all over. So, he makes his get-a-way to Mt. Sinai where it all began.
Remember at Mt. Sinai when God spoke to the people there was thundering and lightning, fire and wind and the earth shook? Well Elijah wanted to see God in all of this greatness again. Oh boy, I have been here during my Mt. Carmel meltdowns! God do it again!
As Elijah waits on God, it begins to happen: a great wind rips apart the mountain, and then an earthquake, and then a fire, but Elijah doesn't feel God's presence in any of these things. "Wait a minute! That's not the way it happened with Moses!" Can't you just imagine this is how Elijah felt?
Then Elijah recognizes that God is near, but it is described in English as a "still small voice".
This is not an accurate translation of this phrase. In Hebrew it means something more along this line: "a deafening silence", or "a quiet calm". Elijah immediately recognizes God is present and HE COVERS HIS HEAD IN HIS PRESENCE.
This is not at all what Elijah expected. This prophet of the Most High God who had done great and mighty miracles and wonders by His Name before the people, yet God speaks to him not with crashing rocks and fire but with silence.
Have you ever been in the "calm of the storm"? I have. I have stood outside after the deadliest of storms has passed while knowing that the second part is coming, only to find "a deafening silence" at the moment. No noise whatsoever; not a breeze, not a chirping bird, no thunder, no lightning, just silence. Complete calmness. Maybe this is the way it was for Elijah.
When God isn't audible or visible to us in some fashion, when we can't FEEL Him like we want too, we often conclude that He isn't there anymore. WRONG! He is there!
Oftentimes it is during the "silence" that we can hear from Him the most. Our lives can become so cluttered with "noise" that we fail to recognize His presence in the "silent" moments of our lives.
Elijah discovered that God had plans that he wasn't aware of. He gave Elijah three job assignments: anoint a foreign King (Hazael) that would destroy Israel, anoint Jehu King over the Northern Kingdom of Israel who will kill all the descendants of Ahab and Jezebel, and anoint Elisha to be prophet in your place.
Ouch! How this must have hurt Elijah. Elijah knew that Hazael of Syria would come against his people. King Jehu would get to annihilate King Ahab and Jezebel, something no doubt Elijah would have liked to have done, and the last one must have been the most disturbing: to anoint Elisha to be prophet instead of him.
This certainly didn't turn out the way Elijah thought it would. Yet, he recognized that God was present.
There is a peace that comes when things don't turn out the way you planned but you know that God is present in the situation. That should be enough!
It should never be about our plans but about His plans. It should never be about demonstrations of power and might but about the "quiet" times we spend with God when He speaks softly and quietly to our hearts and covers us up with His shalom (peace).
Dear Heavenly Father, speak as only you can do and give me the assurance that You are near even when there is a "deafening silence”.