Elijah is a good testimony of someone who listens to the voice of God because he is incredibly normal. In our life, we aren’t going to have it all together. It’s a big fallacy to think that when we show up at Sunday service, and we bring our Sunday’s best, the rest of our life, isn’t like that. Monday, we start going back to work, dealing with pressure and deadlines. If we’re going to school, there are finals. In our family and with our friends, we have to deal with relational conflict, then there’s persecution from the enemy and warfare of doing things, and we’re not always in our Sunday’s best clothes. Elijah is a picture of somebody who is able to follow the voice of God, even in his worst circumstances.
1Ki 19:1-8 (MSG) Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, including the massacre of the prophets.  Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow, you’ll be as dead as anyone of those prophets.”  When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there  and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, GOD! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!”  Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush. Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”  He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.  The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”  He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb.
After Jezebel threatened Elijah, he ran for his life. He was incredibly afraid of the threat that Jezebel gave to him; however, this threat was a lie. If Jezebel wanted to kill Elijah, he would’ve killed him already. However, Elijah fell into the trap of believing the lie more than believing the Word of God. This can happen to us as well when we are going through warfare and we believe a lie so much that it makes us run for the hills. How many times do we believe what the enemy tells us versus what God tells us when we’re stressed out and anxious?
When we’re stressed out and anxious, we believe what the enemy tells us and not what God tells us. When we are worried about finances, we are believing that God won’t take care of us. When we’re afraid of what’s going to happen in our marriage, we’re not listening to what the wisdom of God is saying to us. Whenever we’re walking in a heavy burden, then we’re not walking next to Jesus with his light yolk. There are many lies that get to us and this is why, in our generation, there’s so much suicide, depression, and addiction to medications because we’re not listening. We, as a generation, are more susceptible to listening to media and the lies of the enemy versus what God is saying and the Word of God.
When Elijah ran away, he ran as far South as Judah, but he didn’t leave Judah. This is where we can see Elijah’s spirituality and his relationship with God. He was running away but at the same time, he didn’t want to leave the presence. We too, when we are running away, we shouldn’t want to leave the presence of God, even though in our own frailty we might be running away from what the lies of the enemy are inside of our hearts. We should always be running towards God, not away from him.
Elijah had such a personal relationship with God that he was able to tell him his most personal issues. He really felt like he was someone who was the only one remaining, and he also thought that it was better for him to commit suicide. Elijah had such a deep relationship with God that he wasn’t afraid to tell him that. We also need to have that kind of relationship where God knows what we’re struggling with and we trust him enough to tell him what’s happening inside of our hearts.
When the angel came, he said, “Get up and eat.” We also have to remember prayer and fasting are a lifestyle, but taking care of the body that God has given us is also a lifestyle of wisdom. One of the ways that Elijah was able to deal with the amount of stress and pressure in his life was actually just to take care of his body. We have to be able to set real limitations on what we put our bodies through and what we allow ourselves to take on. We have to make sure that we prioritize taking care of ourselves when we are following the will of God.
We see that after Elijah ate, he was nourished by the meal. Taking care of our physical body is also wisdom. If we don’t nourish ourselves and store what God has given us, then we won’t ultimately be able to walk out the will that God has given us.
When Elijah came to the mountain of God, that was a place that Elijah knew was going to be a place where he would be able to pray. We too have to know that if there’s something that we’re going through in our life, we should be going to a place of prayer in seeking God and expecting that God is going to say something as we meet him.
Why Was God Not In The Wind, Earthquake, And Fire
1Ki 19:9-18 (MSG) When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep. Then the word of GOD came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?”  “I’ve been working my heart out for the GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”  Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before GOD. GOD will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before GOD, but GOD wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but GOD wasn’t in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake, fire, but GOD wasn’t in the fire; after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.  When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?”  Elijah said it again, “I’ve been working my heart out for GOD, the GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”  GOD said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. When you get there anoint Hazael; make him king over Aram.  Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi; make him king over Israel. Finally, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as a prophet.  Anyone who escapes death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu; and anyone who escapes death by Jehu will be killed by Elisha.  Meanwhile, I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.”
When Elijah went to the mountain of God, he went to sleep, and then the Word of God came to him. What Elijah was doing here was that he was positioning himself to receive from the Word of God. By being on the mountain of God, taking care of himself, and sleeping as well, he’s positioning himself.
He’s not fighting against God, he’s finding rest with God. When we want to hear from God, we don’t find God the same way that the prophets of Baal did by yelling and cutting ourselves, but we find God by resting in his presence and trusting him as our loving Father.
The next process that Elijah took in positioning himself with God was that he was transparent with his heart. He kept saying that I am the only prophet of God left and now they’re trying to kill me and that’s really what’s happening inside of his heart. Elijah wasn’t trying to put on a righteous prophet’s face to God. This is something that we see a lot with the prophets of God in the Old Testament: they are incredibly transparent and trusting of who God is. In the same way, we also have to trust who God is and express what is going on with us in faith, knowing that God is going to supply us with an answer and a solution.
When God supplies us with a solution, we know that there’s going to be a responsibility that comes away with this. That’s what we see when God tells Elijah to go, and once Elijah takes that action of going, then there’s an expectancy that God is going to pass us there. God is going to meet us there when we take responsibility for whatever it is he’s telling us to do.
There are three things that God did, but he wasn’t revealing his direction to Elijah in those things. The first one is wind; the next one is the earthquake; the third one is fire. Let’s go ahead and examine each one.
Wind -There was a hurricane that passed by and Elijah saw it and God said, “I’m not in the wind.” The wind of our life can sometimes be things that are just taking us over and letting us sail away, Instead of what’s important in life now, we’re going by what is being taken away in our life or where life is taking us. We’re not controlling life by the will of God anymore, but instead, what we’re doing is we’re letting life control us and we’re giving into whatever it is that the enemy is trying to drag us closer to.
The earthquake – An earthquake in our life can be a natural disaster or a personal disaster. When we have an earthquake in our life, everything gets shaken up and turned upside down and we don’t know what to do. Sometimes we think that God must be trying to tell us something or maybe there’s some kind of hidden motive behind everything. Elijah also saw that just because this major occurrence happened doesn’t mean that is the voice of God.
Fire – The fire in our life can be anything that can be causing us to draw our attention to or problems that are occurring, that we can’t solve quickly and they’re becoming a distraction in our lives versus, allowing us to focus on what the will of God is. There was a fire that Elijah saw when he was at the mountain and God was saying I’m not there either.
The gentle and quiet whisper – Elijah heard the gentle and quiet whisper and that is where the voice of God was. In our own personal life, we have to be able to dial down our prayer, turn down our soul, turn down our emotions, turn down our feelings, turn down our pre-assumptions, and just be able to focus on the Word of God, the rest of Jesus, the sabbath of the Lord, and know that God is there for us and he’s not against us. When we focus on that, that’s when we’re able to hear him.
“So, Elijah, now, tell me...” – What the Lord is saying is, that he’s trying to reorientate Elijah and let him know that regardless of what’s happening in your life, I’m in front of you, where are you? Then Elijah responds, and now he knows that he’s standing before God. In the past situation, he was standing before Jezebel and his situation and he ran away in fear of dying. Now he knows that he’s standing before God, and when he’s talking to God, again, he’s more sober that God is listening to him.
“Go back the way you came” – Now God is directing Elijah with God’s plan and God’s plan is to go back the way you came and with the revelation of the Lord. So now Elijah isn’t going to go and face Jezebel with his own assumption of how to deal with it, but he’s actually going to deal with Jezebel the way that God is instructing him to. Elijah had a clear revelation of what to do with the prophets of Baal, but he didn’t have a clear revelation of what to do with Jezebel’s threats. This is why he needed to get this time alone with God in prayer and fasting, and also without any distractions so he can clearly hear what is it that the Lord is telling him to do.
Anoint – This basically means that now you’re going to have a purpose fulfilled with the power of God.
Make – God is now telling Elijah, I want you to create something out of nothing, and there’s something I have in store for you but you’re going to have to make it happen.
Finally – There is an action plan that God has. When he’s saying ‘finally’, he’s saying that there’s a first step, a second step, and a final step. God will also speak to us in action plans as well if we’re willing to listen to him. God will guide us every step of the way.
Anyone – Anyone who escapes the death of Hazael will be killed by Jehu. God is saying here it’s a plan of reassurance. It’s a plan that I will cover; Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Everything I will show you in wisdom what to do as long as you listen to me.
Meanwhile – It represents that God’s hidden hand was working in the process of everything. Even though Elijah thought he was the only one, we see that there are 7,000 souls that have been preserved by God that haven’t fallen victim to Baal worshiping him and God has saved them. He saved the remnant. This is also another thing that we need to understand as well. We have to have faith that God has something he’s doing that we don’t see. This was something that Elijah had to learn as a regular human being and we also have to learn as disciples of Jesus. Even though we don’t see everything that’s happening, we have to have faith that God is doing something that we don’t know.
Through the wind, earthquake, and fire, God was showing Elijah that He doesn’t primarily reveal Himself in loud, disruptive ways. Rather, God speaks through His gentle whisper, when we quiet our souls to hear His voice. This shows us the importance of positioning ourselves to hear from God by finding rest in His presence, silencing distractions, and bringing Him our honest hearts. When we do this, God can bring clarity direction, and reassurance, just as He did for Elijah.
Now what does this mean for us? How can we apply the lessons from Elijah’s encounter with God to our own lives?
- Is there anything in our lives that we are running away from? Are we running away from God instead of running towards him? Are we running away from a lie of the enemy instead of boldly proclaiming the truth of Jesus? Take time to pray and ask the Lord, is there anything that I’m running away from, or am I running away from you in any circumstance?
- Do we expect God to talk to us the way that he wants to talk to us, or do we position ourselves to listen to God however he wants to talk to us?
- What is the plan that God has given us to conquer sin inside of our lives and be victorious? What are the greatest sins in our lives that we constantly fall into? What is God saying the truth is about living in victory over those sins.
In closing, Elijah’s story shows us that even the greatest prophets can fall prey to the fear and lies of the enemy. Though Elijah was afraid and ran for his life, he still sought God’s presence and was honest with Him about his struggles. God met Elijah in his weakness and gave him clarity, direction, and reassurance. Like Elijah, we must position ourselves to hear God’s gentle whisper by finding rest in His presence. Though we may feel alone, we can trust God is working behind the scenes. When we feel weak, we can boldly come before God, knowing He meets us in our imperfections and gives us the wisdom and strength to follow His calling. May we not run away from God out of fear, but run to Him as our strong tower and ever-present help in times of need.