In I Kings chapter 18 & 19, we see two miraculous victories for Elijah. The first story begins with fire from God falling from Heaven and devouring a sacrifice saturated with water. The fire licked up the water and all the people watching fell on their faces. “The Lord is God!” they all said in wonder. Then they caught the false priests of Baal and killed them all. It was a great victory.
The second victory happens immediately after the fire fell from Heaven. It had not rained in Israel for three years, according to God’s word. Elijah told his servant to tell King Ahab to get into his chariot and hurry, “lest the rain stop you.” King Ahab got onto his horse or chariot and rode hard, but God was with Elijah and Elijah outran the king (on foot!) all the way back to the city. Then there was a heavy rain. That was a great victory.
However; almost immediately the victory sours. (I Kings 19) Elijah receives a note from the wicked queen Jezebel telling him that she is going to kill him “by tomorrow.” Elijah instantly runs for his life into the wilderness. After running, he is exhausted and afraid and angry and tells God to “take his life.” Elijah sleeps, and an angel wakes him up twice and gives him food. After which Elijah (he doesn’t eat anything else!) walks forty days and nights to Mount Horeb.
Once there, God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Elijah answers and says that “..all the prophets of God are destroyed…only I am left…all the people have turned away from God…and they’re trying to kill me.” God doesn’t answer Elijah anything yet, but tells him to stand on the mountain, “before the Lord.” So Elijah goes to the entrance of his cave. The Lord passes by, and first; He sends “a great and strong wind that tore the mountains.” Then, He sends an earthquake. Next, a fire. But God was not in those. At the last of these there came “a low whisper.” Elijah wraps his face then, because he knows God is there. God asks Elijah again “What are you doing here?” Elijah answers the question same as before. God replies with a series of commands. Elijah is commanded to go and anoint the next king of Syria; anoint the next king of Israel; and then anoint his replacement, Elisha. Then God tells Elijah that there are “7,000 people who have not worshipped Baal.” Elijah goes and does as He says.
I wondered why God did not seemingly address Elijah’s fears/questions immediately. Then I realized He had already answered Elijah-on Elijah’s journey to Him through the desert.
God had/was showing Elijah personally that He would give him rest. He would give him food. He would give him strength. He was Elijah’s protection. He was always with Elijah.
Is not God showing us today these things? Do we not each ask God these questions? Indeed,what was Elijah doing there if he understood this? Elijah is not so different from us, in that; he too had difficulties in his walk with God.
God showed Elijah His immense power by using the wind, earth and fire when He passed by the cave. Interestingly; these are the rest of the elements. (He had previously shown His power over water with the rain). Elijah does not seem terribly moved by these until he hears “a low whisper,” or also “a thin silence.” That catches Elijah’s attention.
God showed Elijah His control is not ‘just’ over the elements. Its over mankind. God then tells Elijah to anoint the next king of Syria (a neighboring country) and then to anoint the next king of Israel and lastly, Elijah’s replacement. God was reminding Elijah that He was most definitely in control –He removes and crowns kings and leaders. After these assurances, Elijah obeys.
God knows how to reach us personally. Even though all His great miracles earlier didn’t seem to effect Elijah, His voice did. God reached out to His people in many different ways and wonders, just like He still does today.
God is involved in the affairs of the world. Even though sometimes it may seem as if complete chaos is reigning, God is aware– just as He was in Elijah’s time, and He is not surprised or dismayed by current events.
Some quick notes:
- Elijah needed to personally meet with God to be restored.
- Victories do not always change us/our hearts.
- Satan doesn’t stop working because of a victory. In fact; beware especially after a victory; when we are tired and certainly not suspecting.
Further reading: I Peter 5:8, I Chronicles 29:11, I John 5:4