1Ki 19: "The spirit of Jezebel is promoted against the truth
of Yahweh, as she endeavours to guide the nation into the worship of Baal. The
priests of Baal had been destroyed, but not those of Astarte. These were under
the queen's special protection. But she saw, in the action of the prophet
Elijah, a declaration of war and took the initiative immediately. So  Jezebel
threatens to destroy Elijah: vv 1,2.  Elijah flees to Beersheba: v 3. There
must have been considerable reaction after the nervous tension of the contest on
Carmel. Elijah possibly expected it to result in a spiritual revival in Israel.
Instead it merely aroused Jezebel's anger, so that she threatened him, with the
support of her weak and vacillating husband.  Elijah in the wilderness: vv
4-8. A mood of complete and utter depression fell upon him, so that he could not
see any prospect of success in his work, and preferred death.  Elijah at
Horeb: vv 9-18. It was here, at the rock of judgment, that the prophet was shown
the true nature of his work. Though he imagined his voice was the only voice
expressing the truth, there were another 7,000 supporters. Many times we may
feel isolated in our conflict against apathy, indifference and error. Yahweh
always preserves a remnant of faith, and provides a measure of assistance to
those upholding His wisdom.  The call of Elisha: vv 19-21. The prophet found
a successor to his work, and perhaps in that, after his outburst of v 10, he
found a gentle rebuke in this young man. Both men prefigure the Messiah, who
would be both a man of war and a man of peace, completing the attack against the
evil spirit of Jezebel" (GEM).
James calls Elijah "a man of like nature with ourselves" (Jam
5:17, RSV), and nowhere is this more evident than in Elijah's confrontation with
God on Mount Horeb (1Ki 19). This austere prophet had just been instrumental in
a great victory for the honor of the Lord over Baal, on mount Carmel (1Ki 18).
But from the heights of spiritual exaltation Elijah was plunged into the depths
of despair when he realized that his great accomplishments had not softened the
heart of Ahab, and had served only to intensify Jezebel's hatred for himself.
Fleeing for his life, and yet in his despondency losing all desire to live, he
came into the wilderness, to Horeb (1Ki 19:8). In a pathetic prayer Elijah
reveals that he has given up on Israel, and that he sees himself as the only
true believer remaining (1Ki 19:10). We have all heard such laments as this,
generally for much less reason than Elijah's. In the circumstances we may
understand his pessimism, but God saw fit to dispel the mistaken notions that
led to his negative state of mind. A contemplation of this incident might also
cure the state of mind of any brother who, more or less self-righteously,
isolates himself from 'less worthy' brethren.
God called Elijah forth from his cave, and paraded before him
a tremendous panorama of His power -- strong winds, earthquake, and fire. But
the Lord was not in these; Elijah saw that something was missing. At last came a
still small voice, and Elijah, bracing himself, came out of the cave where he
had fled for fear at the previous manifestations. The soft voice had a soothing
effect; now at last the frightened prophet felt, when he heard it, the presence
of God. Thus was the message driven home to him: God is best known, not in works
of judgment, but in the still small voice which calls His people, when properly
prepared by adversity, to repentance.
And Elijah was to be that voice! "Go, return on thy way" (v
15). Like Samuel before him, Elijah was carefully taught that wickedness is
primarily an affront against God, not against any individual (1Sa 8:7); and
consequently no man (no matter how "righteous") has any prerogative to turn his
back on his brethren. Elijah must minister to the remnant that remains in
Israel; in the midst of gross apostasy he is not to flee in fear, but rather to
stand firm for God and provide a rallying point for the sheep of
"Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees
which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him" (v
// Jer 20:9; Isa 6:5; Jon 4:3.
FORTY DAYS: Ref Moses (Exo 24:18; 34:28; Deu 9:9,18);
Jesus (Mat 4:2; Mar 1:13; Luk 4:2).
HOREB: Sinai (Exo 3:1; 19:18; Mal 4:4,5).
A CAVE: The same cave Moses occupied when he was shown
the glory of God: Exo 33:21-23?
"When men stand in the mouths of their caves and declare that
they alone are fighting the battle of right, and distress the hearts and weaken
the hands of their fellow-warriors by their self-centered declarations based
upon ignorance of the true state of affairs, not seeing the faithful attitude of
the 7,000, then surely is needed the earthquake, the fire, and the still small
voice to purge them of their discouraging fantasies" (GbS 204).
A cave is no place for a prophet. In fact, it's no place for
any child of God. Yet many of us have been in the caves of despondency, worry,
hopelessness and fretfulness. To all "cave-dwellers", Elijah's God is saying,
"What are you doing here?" A cave is no place for a child of God. You belong on
the mountaintop. You belong in the surging stream of life, not in a cave. You
will never see the Lord as long as you remain in the cave. For God is not a God
of the caves, but of the mountaintops. Crawl out of your cave. Climb to the top
of God's mountain. There you'll see what Elijah saw. The glory of God! And you
will hear what Elijah heard.
Examples of prophetic reluctance: Exo 4:10; Jer 1:6; Eze 3:14;
Jon 1:3; 1Ki 19:10; Luk 5:8,10; 9:59; 18:23; Act 13:13; 18:9. Ct Isa
A GENTLE WHISPER: "A still small voice" (AV, RSV); "a
gentle breeze" (LXX).
The judgments of God (strong wind, earthquake, fire) are
actually manifestations of His mercy. They are the prelude, and preparation, for
the still small voice calling the nation to repent.
Elijah is being shown that the LORD God -- or Yahweh -- is, of
course, the God of the strong wind, the earthquake, fire -- all these were
presumed by the pagans to be manifestations of the great "god" Baal, but this
was utterly false!
But not only was Yahweh the true and only God of these great
and frightening aspects of nature, in contrast to Baal. He was, ESPECIALLY, the
God who revealed Himself through the quiet, still, small, and gentle voice
speaking to the individual conscience.
An old preacher spoke something in reply to a question from a
young man, something so hushed it could not be discerned. The young man stepped
across the room. "What did you say?" he asked. The preacher repeated himself,
but again in a tone as soft as a whisper. So the young man moved closer until he
was leaning on the preacher's chair. "Sorry," he said. "I still didn't hear
you." With their heads bent together, the old preacher spoke once more. "God
sometimes whispers," he said, "so we will move closer to hear Him."
We all want God's voice to thunder through the air with the
answer to our own particular problem. But God's is the still, small voice... the
gentle whisper. Perhaps there's a reason. Nothing draws human focus quite like a
God's whisper means I must stop my ranting and move close to
Him, until my head is bent together with His. And then, as I listen, I will find
Better still, I find myself closer to God. And there is no
better place to be.
Are you close enough to God that you can hear Him whisper? Or
are you so far away that you would barely hear Him if His voice boomed like
Sometimes we say we are believers, residents in God's house,
but we expect to feel close to Him by yelling down the hall or using an
intercom. The only way to have the BEST relationship with God is to live where
He lives... not just in the same house, but in the same room; side by side. We
need to draw close to Him... "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you"
(James 4:8). There is no better way to do this than to read His Word,
prayerfully and quietly and in a spirit of contemplation, EVERY DAY.
Let's be so close to the LORD that we can feel His presence
and hear Him whisper His Word to us.
AND STOOD AT THE MOUTH OF THE CAVE: Elijah had come out
when God called him (v 11), but he had fled back into the cave when the strong
wind and earthquake came.
Elijah's unrevised answer indicates that, essentially, he does
not understand the question!
3 anointings in the OT: Typical of Christ in his 3 capacities:
Lev 8:12, as priest; 1Ki 19:16, as prophet; and 1Sa 16:1, as king.
ELISHA: Sig "God's salvation", or "the power of
SON OF SHAPHAT FROM ABEL MEHOLAH: The mention of
Elisha's father and village indicates that he was hitherto unknown to
ABEL MEHOLAH: "A meadow of dancing", a joyful,
'Forget the fireworks. You must concentrate instead on the
scattered remnant, the school of the prophets, etc.'
TWELVE YOKE OF OXEN: A quite wealthy family, who were
nevertheless to send away their heir and overseer on a mission for
GO BACK: 'Return for the moment'...
WHAT HAVE I DONE TO YOU?: 'But do not forget the call I
have given you!'
Cp Ornan the Jebusite: 2Sa 24:22.
HE TOOK HIS YOKE OF OXEN AND SLAUGHTERED THEM. HE BURNED
THE PLOWING EQUIPMENT...: To signify publicly, by sacrifice, his
consecration to a new life. Cp Peter and Andrew (Mar 1:29), and Matthew (Mat
"Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let
me go back and say good-by to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his
hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God' " (Luk