And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” 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. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
We usually go to Fall Creek Falls to camp several times a year. Each time we go we go to all the familiar places: the big falls, Piney Falls, the cascades, the trail to the big falls, the lake trail, buzzard’s roost. It would be so easy to just sit in the campground and not make the effort to see these beautiful places, after all I have seen them countless times. Each time there is something new to see, some beauty I would miss.
God’s word can become like this, so familiar that we don’t make the effort to read the story again, to seek a deeper understanding of His Word. This story of Elijah’s encounter with God is as familiar to me as all the places of Fall Creek Falls. When I read it I even have a sound track that plays in my head - Mendlessohn’s chorus from the Elijah, “Behold God the Lord Passes By.” It would be so easy to just skip over it - to say I learned my lesson, God speaks to us in a “still, small voice.” But this time, when I took the time to really read the story I learned something more about encountering God. It is so much more than God speaks to us in the unexpected still, small voice. God comes to us in the way we need to hear him at that time to accomplish the purpose he has for us; sometimes in a quiet stream and sometimes in the power of a waterfall. Elijah was feeling like a failure and was running for his life into the wilderness. God prepared Elijah for the encounter on Mount Horeb, got his attention, and then asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah? It was a question, God asked Elijah a question. Then God told him to go back and do the work of being a prophet. So I must listen to God’s question, “What are you doing here?” and trust that God will answer.
Open our eyes, ears, and hearts to encounter you in your Word. Break through the familiar and teach us something new today.
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