Elijah has called down fire from heaven showing the prophets of Baal that Yahweh is the one true God. In the end, he orders these prophets executed, not by God’s command, but by his own. Ahab begins riding back off to to Jezebel to tell her everything that has just happened. Elijah has killed her prophets and now it’s time for revenge.
Word gets back to Jezebel about what Elijah has done to her prophets so she sends him what I would call a Game of Thrones inspired message…
Jezebel is angry. Embarrassed. Furious. Elijah has just killed her prophets.
She intends to make…
Elijah catches wind of all of this and decides to do the only thing he can do, run! Like a dog, he’s going off to die. He runs into he wilderness to do just that, to lay under a bush until he’s no more. After seeing everything God is capable of on the mountain, he still asks God to take his life. It’s just too much for him to handle.
As Elijah falls asleep, an angel of God wakes him up to some bread and water by his head and says get up and eat because the journey is too much for you. Jezebel’s words have pierced him and he wonders if it’s all worth it. The angel comes to him a second time. Get up and eat. Strengthened by this food, he gains his composure and travels 40 days to Mount Horeb, a mountain of God. When he gets there, he spends a night in cave where he’ll encounter the presence of God in unexpected ways.
Elijah seeing himself as a warrior, is called by God to come stand outside of the cave in God’s very presence because God will soon pass by. A powerful wind blows, shattering rocks on the mountain but God wasn’t in it. And then there was an earthquake. And then a fire. But God wasn’t in those either. God’s presence was in the stillness that came after.
Breaking from the story, I wonder how many times the enemy gets the best of us because we’re not willing to wait for the stillness that comes after our trials. The stillness that’s after storms that batter our own lives. Or when things seem to be falling apart right under us like some life-earthquake that’s shaking us to the core. Or when the fire comes rushing through, leaving nothing untouched. For Elijah, God wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. God was in the stillness. He was in the quiet. That’s the moment that God was choosing to renew Elijah’s hope, showing him Israel still had a future.
John tells us about Jesus having his own Elijah moment when facing his soon to be death. Jesus knows his death is coming and his soul is troubled. Rightly, he’s grieved. He wants his life to be spared but he knows the mission he’s on is greater than even his own life. I think Elijah knew that too. Jesus, he knew he had to die, and like a seed planted in the ground, it’s his death, his own planting into the ground that will bring new life.
But there were three days of stillness. Three days of weeping. Three days of sadness. Three days where the disciples must have felt like someone was ripping their hearts out again and again. Three days of utter hopelessness.
But out of this stillness the world would be forever changed. God was speaking new life into the world these three days.
Storms will come.
Earth shattering moments will happen.
You’ll get burned by the fires of this life. That’s an unfortunate given.
But when it finally gets quiet, just stop and listen…
Renewed hope and renewed life are waiting there in the quiet. There will be a gentle whisper breathing new life into you. So don’t give up.
A retelling from 1 Kings 19:1-18, John 12:27-28