God in His marvelous grace demonstrates His faithfulness and patience in dealing with mankind who so easily becomes absorbed in his peripheral surroundings and situations. Sometimes the divine call to pause and consider comes quietly to the soul that is attentive to Him. Such was the case with fretful Elijah, sleeping in a cave and falsely concluding that he alone in all of Israel remained faithful to God. Graciously the LORD did not let the prophet become inundated in self pity. “And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah” (1 Kings 19:9b NIV)? Would Elijah respond in humility before the God of the universe or toot his horn in justifying his erroneous thinking?
The narrative reveals that he unfortunately chose the latter … “He [Elijah] 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." The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by” (1 Kings 19:10-11 NIV). What undeserved grace the LORD demonstrated to his prophet. No reprimand or rebuke was in order; just instruction to pause and consider.
Elijah stood in the presence of the LORD but his ears and eyes were not ready to perceive the message. He expected fire and thunder, a grandiose display of divine power and utterance. “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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire” (1 Kings 19:11-12 NIV). Perhaps disappointed in the LORD working in a way other than to his choosing, as often is the case with us, Elijah had to be willing to hear the quiet, calm instruction of his Master.
God’s power had been revealed but it was that quiet assurance, that would give rest to his wearied soul …“and after the fire came a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12 NIV). To all who have placed their faith in Christ as their personal Savior, believing that on the Cross He paid in full their debt of sin, and therefore possessing life eternal and the indwelling presence of the Godhead, what is there to fear in life when the Christian is eternally secure in Christ,? God has promised … "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me” (Heb 13:5b-6 NIV)?
Elijah’s moment of insecurity and despair need not permeate our daily living. Paul warned of a devastating sin that believers experience -- that of worry. Therefore to the church in Philippi he gave this mandate … “Do not be anxious [stop worrying] about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV). Mental agitation must cease and be replaced with the assurance and confidence that God is at work, doing what He knows best in our lives.
But notice the divine order of His working – we stop worrying and commit the situation to the Father in prayer, and then we enjoy the peace of God that is unimaginable. SELAH –consider this! The 18th century hymn lyricist Katharina Von Schlegel wrote:
“Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.