In the book of 1 Kings in chapters 17-19 there is a story of a prophet Elijah. Elijah was very bold in his faith at a time when Israel was under great oppression by a king Ahab and his queen Jezebel. Jezebel was one of the most hateful women that ever lived.
“And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected and altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.” 1 Kings 16:31-33
Ahab and Jezebel were wreaking havoc on Israel. They had set up these altars to Baal. Don’t miss verse 33 of the passage before that says “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel before him.” He was one bad guy and he was angering God.
But our story is about Elijah. Elijah was a prophet that the Lord spoke through to predict a drought.
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’” 1 Kings 17:1
We see Elijah in this story being bold in his faith and speaking out to Ahab.
Then we see the Lord drawing him away to “hide” but what He was really doing was drawing him to Himself.
“And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Chrith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’” 1 Kings 17:2-4
In these chapters Elijah was very in tune with God. When God said go hide yourself by a brook, he did and the Lord sustained him there. Later, when God sent him to Zarephath, and dwell there, he did and God worked through him. After three years, God sends him back to Ahab to confront him and God does a mighty work through Elijah on Mount Carmel. Elijah during all of this time kept his eyes on the Lord and even though every circumstance that came his way wasn’t perfect, he had great faith and God used him in a mighty way to show himself to Israel to turn the hearts of the people back to him. But in all of this Ahab and Jezebel were still evil and they were still doing all they could to hunt Elijah down to kill him.
I paraphrase this story because of time, there is much more to it. It is a very interesting read and I suggest you go read these chapters yourself, but this brings us to a point in chapter 19 where Elijah is fleeing Jezebel and Ahab. This man who had stood so boldly for the Lord is now fleeing in fear for his life. He was weary from his ministry and speaking boldly for the Lord and now here he was in hiding and asking the Lord to just take his life.
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying ‘it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.’” 1 Kings 19:4
Elijah had hit a low point. After years of following the Lord and doing ministry and seeing the Lord answer many prayers for him, he was tired and ready to just give up. But the Lord came and found him there.
“And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ And he looked, and behold there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again.” 1 Kings 19:5
Elijah was in a low place yet the Lord found him there and he fed him and he gave him drink and he gave him rest. And this happened again. And the Lord sustained him for forty day and forty nights. Elijah had come to a cave to lodge in it and the Lord came to him again and asked him what he was doing?
“He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 1 Kings 19:10
Elijah was down and depressed but this brings me to my favorite part of this story.
“And he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke 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 the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold there came a voice to him.” 1 Kings 19:11-13
How many times do we look for God only in the big things? Elijah looked for Him in the wind, in the earthquake and in the fire but he found Him in the sound of a low whisper. Our God, our El Roi is personal to each of us and sometimes, He just wants to speak to us. He wants to come to us in the sound of a whisper. Elijah had to get alone and had to quiet the noise and had to nourish himself and had to rest to really hear the whisper of the Lord. I know I have to do that sometimes too.