Hebrews 11:34, I Kings 19:1-18
I have been in situations that seemed impossible, and God “quenched the fire” and “shut the mouths of lions.” But, I have also been in situations when God had me leave. Sometimes, because of physical or emotional safety, God has us move away from the situation we are in and we find safety and rest. We are going to read about that today in I Kings 19 as we look at a little piece of Elijah’s story.
I am going to give a brief synopsis of what happened to Elijah prior to our reading for today. Elijah had just shown God’s power over the powerless Baal in a challenge issued by Elijah against the prophets of Baal. When God showed His power, Elijah had the prophets of Baal killed which angered Queen Jezebel. We now come to our part of the story where Jezebel threatens Elijah’s life. Elijah’s response was to “run for his life.” At this point, Elijah felt isolated and alone and he was afraid. I love what God does for him in this moment. God heard Elijah’s prayer when he said in verse 4 “I have had enough, LORD.” Haven’t we all been there? I can think of several times when I cried to God saying I couldn’t take any more of the oppression I was in. God’s response was to feed him and strengthen him and send him to Horeb, which is where God had met Moses and gave him the law. It was in a cave at Mt. Horeb that God came to Elijah while he was resting.
First came a wind, then an earthquake, and then a fire, but the Bible tells us that God was not in any of those natural events. After all that happened, God came in a “gentle whisper,” (verse 13). I find that so beautiful. Elijah was tired and oppressed, and God came in a gentle whisper. As a mother, when my children were babies and they were inconsolable I found speaking to them in a soft voice would calm them down so they could hear me. I think God does that with us, too. Sometimes we are so frantic, that He speaks softly so we need to settle down in order to hear Him. God then sends Elijah encouragement and shows him that there were seven thousand other people in Israel that had chosen not to worship Baal.
When God gives us rest after a period of oppression, we find ourselves ready to move on. When we are in an oppressive situation that God is not changing and instead He has us leave, we can find healing and rest. God comes to us in a gentle whisper and encourages us, but He doesn’t leave us there. As you can see, Elijah was given more jobs to do, but he was ready to do them. The rest we receive from God is better than any vacation or spa, it brings us strength and healing so we can continue to do His work.
I want to stress that doing God’s work isn’t always easy, and sometimes because we are working with humans and dealing with spiritual warfare we will come across oppression. God doesn’t always take us out of that situation; He helps us work through it. But sometimes we face situations that can become dangerous to stay in and He has us leave. God can provide the rest we need; we just need to listen for the gentle whisper that comes after the storm.
Are you in need of God’s rest? Do you trust that God will provide the rest and strength when you need it?