If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 1 Kings 19, 1 Thessalonians 2, Daniel 1, Psalm 105. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 1 Kings 19.
It was tough to choose today between writing about Elijah’s conversation with God and the stand of Daniel and his three friends, but we’ll go with Elijah since this passage finished the story we’ve been tracking.
Unimpressed by God’s thorough defeat of Baal & his prophets, Jezebel sent Elijah a nastygram promising to end Elijah’s life just as he put all of her prophets of Baal to death. As a human, I’m not surprised that “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life” (v. 3a). But consider how God had already miraculously provided for Elijah first at the brook and then with the widow. Then he answered his prayers for fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices and rain from heaven to end the drought. God had dramatically worked for Elijah and through Elijah but now one person’s threat causes him to completely unravel and flee to save his life (vv. 3-4), then he prayed and asked God to take his life (v. 4b). Here is a man who went from a place of spiritual strength to emotional weakness very quickly. So what did God do?
First, God took care of his body—giving him rest (v. 5a, 8) and food (vv. 5b-8). Then the Lord spoke to him, asking him why he was hiding (v. 9b). Elijah’s answer drips with a feeling of unfairness; despite all he had done for God, now he was #1 on Jezebel’s most wanted list. God then showed Elijah some serious displays of power—an incredibly powerful wind (v. 11), an earthquake (v. 11b), and a fire but “the Lord was not in” any of these things. Finally in verse 12 the Lord spoke to him in “a gentle whisper.” After asking him again why he was here and receiving the same answer, God gave Elijah a series of instructions (vv. 15-17). But he also revealed to Elijah that his claim to be “the only one left” (v. 10, 14) was false. We know from yesterday’s reading (1 Ki 17:4) that Obadiah had hidden and provided for many of the prophets. Now in verses 15-18 we learned that God has plans that don’t involve Elijah (well, after he anointed these people) and that there are 7000 people in Israel who do not worship Baal.
Elijah had a flair for the dramatic, as we saw in chapter 18. But although he had a dramatic experience with the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, God didn’t use any of those to speak to him; instead God used a gentle whisper. And, while Elijah was convinced that he was the only one left devoted to God, God had other people Elijah just didn’t know about. Although the scriptures do not interpret Elijah’s experience for us directly, it seems to me that God was telling him and us not to be so impressed by big, impressive outbursts of his activity. God does use those, but many of his ways are quiet. Instead of seeking mass conversions, mass revivals, and dramatic miracles, open your eyes to how God is working in ordinary people—bringing them to faith and teaching them to follow him consistently.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.