November 20, 2018

Wind, Rock, and Whispers

1 Kings 19:9-18

A great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord.

—  1 Kings 19:11

Soon after Elijah’s great success that we reflected on yesterday, Elijah escapes to the wilderness to avoid being hunted down by his enemies. He is exhausted and so discouraged that he wants to die.

Then the Lord appears to Elijah. God gives some amazing demonstrations of his power over nature: a great and power­ful wind, an earthquake, and a fire. It’s like an echo of the showdown that brought dramatic fire from heaven (1 Kings 18:30-39).

Wind, fire, and earthquakes were all recognized as signs of divine revelation in ancient times, so it makes sense that God chose to reveal himself in connection with those things. But God shows here that he is not in the wind, or the fire, or the earthquake itself. Instead, God speaks to Elijah in a gentle whisper. So Elijah experiences the presence of God by means of a gentle, whispering voice in the midst of silence. And Elijah covers his face, knowing he is in the presence of almighty God.

In this tender way God shows just as powerfully that the Lord who speaks gently with a whisper is the same God who can tear mountains apart and break down evil. And when he asks, “What are you doing here?” he shows that he has plans to keep bringing his kingdom into this world, and he calls us to work on this with him.

God of all creation, you keep working in our midst, and by your Spirit you are powerfully present in our lives. Move us to hear your voice, your gentle whispering, and ­assure us of your purposes each day. Amen.

About the author — Julia Prins Vanderveen

Julia Prins Vanderveen works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, Trevor, and their three sons. Julia has served as a copastor with Trevor at a church in Vancouver. She is a campus pastor and a humanities teacher at the Vancouver Christian School.

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