1 Kings 19:9b-13 - And behold, the Word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." 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.
I love the story of Elijah—not the story of the great miracle on Mt. Carmel, but what happened afterward. You remember that Elijah had called down fire from heaven in front of the whole nation; he defeated the priests of Baal and made it clear who the real God was. But that victory lasted only hours. A day or two later, Elijah was running from the queen who wanted to execute him. Nothing was left of his victory except ashes.
Elijah was in despair. He said, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers" (1 Kings 19:4b).
But God did not forget Elijah. Look at how tenderly He cared for him! It started with simple physical care: food and water brought by an angel as Elijah slept under a tree.
Then Elijah traveled to Mt. Horeb, 40 days away. It would have been quiet on that trip: no one to frighten him, bother him, or even ask him questions. He would have had time to think, time to pray, time just to breathe.
Once Elijah made it to the mountain, God spoke to him. But He didn't do it in a booming, scary voice. Instead, Elijah heard the sound of a low whisper—something that a broken, despairing human being could face. "What are you doing here?" God asked. God knew, of course, but Elijah needed a chance to say what was on his heart.
And then God gave him encouragement and help. He provided him with an assistant, Elisha, and He told Elijah that there were still 7,000 faithful believers in Israel, "all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him" (1 Kings 19:18b).
There are times when we need this kind of mercy from God—times when we ourselves feel worn down, even broken. We have reached the end of our strength, and God knows this. He deals gently with us at such a time. "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14).
God's gentleness is not surprising when we remember how He chose to come into the world to save us—not as a great and powerful hero, but as a newborn baby. And though He had and has all power, He refused to use it except to show mercy to people: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, raising the dead. Even on the cross He triumphed through weakness, destroying evil through His own death, and giving us life through His resurrection. As David said, "You have given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand supported me, and Your gentleness made me great" (Psalm 18:35).
THE PRAYER: Lord, show me Your gentleness and mercy when I am weak. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Can you recall a time of achievement or victory in your life that was short-lived? Why was that so?
2. Can you think of instances in Scripture when God spoke/revealed Himself in quiet things?
3. What are your favorite private times with God?
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