The lectionary reading for today is from 1 Kings 19:9-13....
At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.Our lectionary reading for today is part of one of my favorite passages of Scripture. Elijah the prophet was seemingly at the end of his rope. He had battled against the prophets of Baal and won a great victory for the Lord, but now Queen Jezebel was after him, and he was ready to give up.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking 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 sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
I wonder: have you ever been ready to give up, perhaps even now, at this moment? I know I have been there.
I love what I heard Charles Stanley say about such moments. He said that whenever we get too:
Then it is time to call a HALT!
That's what Elijah did. He was too hungry, angry, lonely, and tired all at once. Fortunately, he went away to a quiet place where he could hear the voice of God.
And isn't it interesting that God did not speak to Elijah in any of the most dramatic ways. God did not speak to him in the wind, the earthquake, or fire. Rather, as one version of this passage puts it, God spoke to Elijah in a "still, small voice".
I believe that is often how God speaks to us. But so often this world is too noisy for us to hear the voice of God. We have to go to a place where all the voices of this world are silent, and where we can still all of our inner voices that clamor for attention, before we can hear the voice of God in that stillness.
If you continue reading where our lectionary passage for today leaves off, then you will see how God solved many of Elijah's most pressing problems. But the solution began in that stillness where Elijah could hear God's voice.