The Wind, Earthquake, and Fire

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ So he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.’ Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the 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 still small voice. – 1 Kings 19:9-12.

Eiljah has been a mighty instrument used of God to purge the evil from among the people. Through Elijah, God had defeated the prophets of Baal and destroyed them. However, after this mountaintop experience a messenger comes to Elijah from the evil queen Jezebel saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time (1 Kings 19:2).” Then, Elijah, the man who had called down fire from heaven to consume the soaked offering in the contest with the prophets of Baal, the man who had prayed and a drought ended, this man runs in defeat and fear from Jezebel. Unbelievable!

Elijah not only ran from Jezebel, but he sat down under a tree in the wilderness and prayed that he would die. “It is enough! Now, Lord take my life for I am no better than my fathers (1 Kings 19:4b)!” Elijah had been on the mountaintop, but now he is in the valley of despair. He is depressed and ready to die. But God is not finished with Elijah. What will it take before Elijah is willing to be used by God again? On the mountain Horeb, God asks Elijah what he is doing there. Elijah tells God of the great things he has done for Him, but that he is the only one left and they are trying to kill him. How can God ever use this used up and defeated prophet again?

In order to rehabilitate Elijah, God sends a “great and strong wind” that “tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces.” Then God sends an earthquake, and after the earthquake God sends the fire. Finally, Elijah is again ready to listen to God. Elijah could always hear the Voice of God but not until this point after the wind, earthquake and fire was he ready to listen and obey. Elijah was so ready to listen and obey that he could hear the “still small voice” of God. God again asks Elijah what he was doing there because Elijah was not where he should have been in service to the Lord. God sent Elijah to anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha as prophet in Elijah’s place. God then told Elijah that he was not alone that there were seven thousand others that had not bowed to Baal.

What would it take before you would hear and obey the “still small voice” of God? Why wait for the wind, and the earthquake, and the fire? Why not listen and obey now?

(What would it take before you would hear and obey the “still small voice” of God?)

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