Read 1 Kings 19
Elijah Flees to Horeb
19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
The Lord Appears to Elijah
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, torn 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. 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?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn 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.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
The Call of Elisha
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
Elijah, God’s bold, faithful prophet, has just experienced God’s spectacular display of power discrediting any semblance of Baal’s divinity. However, Elijah’s boldness and God’s response fuel a rage in Queen Jezebel that prompts her threat to kill Elijah. Elijah, fearing for his life, runs long and hard collapsing in exhaustion and despair, even asking God to end his life. Though Elijah expresses his zeal for the Lord, he is discouraged in the response of his people, the Israelites. Elijah is certain he is alone. In his weakness and terror, he seems to forget God’s faithful provision and protection of the past three and a half years.
It’s an incredibly human and relatable moment we see from Elijah. Let’s focus our attention on God’s merciful actions in Elijah’s time of personal, spiritual crisis. God never leaves Elijah in his fear or exhaustion. God provides for Elijah’s physical nourishment by gently awakening him with food. God nourishes him enough for a 40-day journey. Arriving at Mt. Horeb, God converses with Elijah, asking a question and listening to Elijah’s reply.
God then reveals Himself, not in the spectacular display of power Elijah witnessed when confronting Baal worshippers, but in a gentle whisper. Even as Elijah answers with a discouraged statement, God encourages him by giving him tasks that usher in new leadership and provide for Elijah’s successor, Elisha. The Lord also assures Elijah that he alone is not the only Israelite who worships God. God has a remnant of 7,000 who are faithful to Him.
For any of us who face weariness, fear, doubt, or struggles that appear insurmountable, what encouragement there is! God is with us. He hears us. He cares. He provides. He tenderly and mercifully holds us in our times of greatest need. When our body, mind, and spirit is weak, Jesus reminds us to “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
- What do you fear that needs a dose of “remembering God’s faithfulness” in your life?
- How has God encouraged you in times of discouragement or weariness?
- With whom might you offer a word or deed of encouragement today?
Did You Know?
The Mountain of God, Mt. Horeb, where Elijah hears God’s gentle whisper is the same mountain where God revealed Himself to Moses.
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5 thoughts on “1 Kings 19”
I remember hearing at youth camp that great mountain top experiences are often followed by deep valleys. This was especially true for Elijah. He witnessed some of the the most amazing feats recorded in scripture yet fell into despair shortly afterwards. I love how God meets him right at his point of need, physically & mentally, reminding him of his purpose and mission. One of the beautiful things about Jesus coming to earth as a baby, is that he is fully acquainted with our humanity. Psalm 103:13-14 reminds us that “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers we are dust.” I’m recalling times when God faithfully drew me out of the pit and placed my feet back on solid ground. “In loving kindness, Jesus came, my soul in mercy to reclaim, and from the depths of sin and shame, through grace he lifted me” (Hymn by Charles H. Gabriel).
The ESV calls it “a low whisper.”
The NASB calls it “ a gentle blowing.”
The KJV calls it “a still small voice.”
All through the Bible you can read that God preferred a whisper to communicate (see Job, Psalms, Matthew, Genesis). Mark Batterson says if someone speaks to you in a whisper you have to get very close and put your ear to their mouth. We lean towards a whisper, and that’s the intimacy God wants.
Oswald Chambers says “The voice of the Spirit is as gentle as a zephyr. So gentle that unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you never hear it. The checks of the Spirit come in the most extraordinary gentle ways, and if you’re not sensitive enough to detect His voice you will quench it, and your personal spiritual life will be impaired. His checks always come as a still small voice, so small that no one but the saint notices them.”
I had a dear friend ask me do I believe God still speaks to us like He did in the NT, I said yes, and she said no—only through His son does He speak now.
I didn’t want to argue, but I also don’t want to put God in a box! What He did then, He can do now! I had a whisper once—it’s something that marks you. If you get desperate to hear, and make time for God, He will speak. My prayer today is for that someone earnestly seeking to hear from God.
I love this, Christi!
My hearing is not what it once was. I have to tell (remind) my family (what feels like an endless repetition) of, “I can’t hear you from that far away. I can’t hear you over the ___.” (Most often the running water in the kitchen sink.)
Don’t they know this by now?
If we can’t hear and understand each other in a normal speaking voice, maybe we first need to deal with distance and distractions. And softer, more private thoughts need even more nearness and attention.
If I’m not “hearing from God,” maybe it’s because I need to shift my position and my attention. To squeeze in close and turn my heart and ears to him alone.
Reading God’s word, praying for others, having life group,and going to the church building on Sundays and other times help me. I am thankful for random text from Regen girls just encouraging or telling what God is doing for them. I am thankful for marriage class women who still reach out on occasion. Just like Elijah knowing your not fighting this fight alone is just what Scott spoke about yesterday. I am thankful, WOOHOO!!!!
God I thank You for Godly people in my life. Thank you for also helping me to not wait to text or call someone until “I have time” but to do it now. Thank you for your words not mine. Thank You for your wisdom in my walk daily and your Love overflowing and effervescening out of me in Jesus name amen. WOOHOO!!!!!
I have been realizing I fear God won’t help those I love, if I don’t…….
I hear the gentle whisper, “I’ve got this/them”.
I’m learning to trust God with my loved ones, humble myself, believe that He has not put this heavy yoke on me and trust in His grace to teach me to love and relate to others His way.