Daily Devotional

Elijah: The Gentle Whisper of the Lord

by Simon Whitton

Then Moses said to him,
"If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.

Exodus 33:15 (NIV)

The place Moses didn't want to leave without God's presence was the 'mountain of God'.  Moses then asked to see the glory of the Lord, and God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock as He passed by.

Centuries later Elijah was in a spiritual war against the wicked forces in Israel.  He was sometimes full of faith and confident, other times pessimistic.  At Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed for fire to come down on a sacrifice, and it did, consuming even the wood, altar, soil and water in an incredible display of the Lord's power. Despite this, he felt he was losing the war and was discouraged.  Soon after Mount Carmel, Jezebel sent word to Elijah that she was going to kill him.  Elijah panicked and fled for his life into the desert.  He was alone and he'd had enough; but the Lord strengthened him, enabling him to get to the 'mountain of God'.

9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword.  I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

The Lord was in the gentle whisper.

13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
I Kings 19:9-13 (NIV)

Elijah had come to the 'mountain of God' because he was discouraged and afraid. He was looking for reassurance, he was looking for the presence of God.  He felt this mountain was the logical place to go.  This is where the glory of the Lord passed by Moses, and this is where the whole mountain had trembled violently and the Lord descended on it in fire when He met with Israel and made His covenant with them.

17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently,

Exodus 19:17-18 (NIV)

Elijah had experienced the Lord in some amazing and powerful ways; perhaps because of this, he made the mistake of associating God's presence with visible displays of power.  The Lord revealed His presence to Elijah, but not in the fire or in the earthquake, but in a gentle whisper of intimate concern.

Perhaps you need reassurance that the presence of the Lord goes with you.  Don't make the mistake of always looking for Him in mighty demonstrations of power. They are important, but they're not everything, and when they cease He is just as powerful and in control.

Go to the Lord in prayer, in the lonely desert place, and find His presence in a gentle whisper of reassurance.

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