A Thin Silence

The LORD was not in the great and strong wind that pulverized the rocks. Nor was He in the quake that shook the ground. And though you couldn’t take your eyes of the blazing fire, the LORD wasn’t in that either. Thinking this morning how we need to hear the sound of a thin silence.

Hovering over the story of God tending to the depressed prophet, Elijah, even as my mind can’t stop processing this morning’s news of last night’s continued violence in the land. And though I can’t identify with Elijah’s prayer to “take away my life”, his words, “It is enough!” seems to resonate. As does the Lord’s response, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you” (1Ki. 19:4-7).

That Elijah was done, is pretty evident. That the prophet of God who defeated the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah was spent is pretty clear. To say that he “lost courage” after Jezebel put out a hit on him would be an understatement. And so he runs. But he runs to the mount of God at Horeb, Sinai. And there he holes up in a cave.

And there God asks the kind of penetrating question that God is prone to ask. In the garden, the LORD God called to the man and asked, “Where are you?” Here, on the mount, the searching, seeking God of His people asks the weary prophet, “What are you doing here?” (19:9).

Elijah, you’ve come to the place where the bush once burned without being consumed. You’ve sought the holy ground that compels you to put off your sandals. I have thundered on this mountain before. From here I have revealed my will and my ways for my people. So you’ve come. So you’ve holed up in a cave. What do you want? What are you doing here?

And, as is often the case with so many of us, Elijah, the man “subject to like passions as we are” (James 5:17 KJV), focuses on himself. The world around him has descended into chaos and Elijah boils it down to, “I, even I only, am left.”

And God knows just what His weary messenger needs.

And He said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, . . .

(1Kings 19:11a ESV)

Stand on the mountain before Yahweh. Post up before the LORD’s presence. Firmly plant your feet, fix your eyes, open your ears, and behold anew My glory.

Thinking that’s what you need sometimes amidst the overwhelming chaos. A fresh look at God’s glory.

And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

(1Kings 19:11b-12 ESV)

The sound of a low whisper. Three words in the original, a voice still small. Or, as the rendering in my margin reads, a thin silence.

Need to take a breath after last night’s news. Need to refocus amidst the continuing collateral damage of a world-wide pandemic. Need to get my thoughts off myself. Need a fresh glimpse of the glory of God. Thinking this morning, it’ll be heard through His word in a thin silence.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

(Psalm 46:10a ESV)

By Your grace. Show me Your glory.

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