Elijah and the Still, Small Voice (Revisited)


Elijah! I love Elijah. Mighty prophet of God. Strong. Assured. Obedient to God’s commands. Through Elijah, God displayed His authority and great power to the people of Israel who had turned away! Fire from heaven burned up the soaking wet sacrifice… after futile attempts by the priests of Baal, god of fertility and nature, were unsuccessful. “Your god is no god!” … and 450 prophets of Baal perished.

Through Elijah, God withheld rain and a great drought resulted.

Through Elijah, God ended this drought with wind and abundant water… and Elijah miraculously ran before the chariot of King Ahab to a town fourteen miles away.

…Then a vengeful Queen Jezebel declared death to Elijah and he ran away in fear… and ran… and ran… until he ended up in a faraway cave in which to hide.

There God spoke to him, “What are you doing here Elijah?

And Elijah replied, I have given you my all God! Haven’t I obeyed you as best I can? I’ve been very busy doing all these things for You. Now look at these hard-headed, self-centered, angry people! They have rejected you and killed all your other prophets and now I’m the only one left! It’s useless. I might as well die too!”

I love Elijah! Doesn’t his story express the fear and discouragement we all feel at times?!

So, God passed by before that cave. There came a great wind, earthquake, and fire… but God was not in them. He who had spoken so forcefully and powerfully previously so that all would know His authority, did not speak through them this time… God had Elijah’s full attention! But where was God?!

Then there came a still small voice, a quiet calm. Elijah heard the voice of God asking the same question He had asked before, “What are you doing here Elijah?” …and, still focused on himself, Elijah gave the same answer!

But in the quiet of that moment, came assurance that God was with him. “Go back Elijah. I have a job for you. There will be others to help you, kings to anoint and a prophet to succeed you. Why, there are 7000 prophets who will rise up to serve me!”

I love Elijah! His story gives us all hope and assurance. “Go back. I’m with you. You are not alone,” God says. And so, He speaks in that still small voice, in quiet calm amidst our storms. God had not given up on them. He hadn’t given up on Elijah and He hasn’t given up on us! He is mighty. He is faithful.

May we find rest and courage in Him, giving thanks for His promise and faithful presence. Amen.

*Elijah’s story – 1 Kings Chapters 17-19 & 2 Kings Chapter 2
Charlotte-Anne Allen, 5/7/2017
Revised 1/28/2023

Responsible Freedom

Sunrise 2_IMG_1787

I’ll be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want.” What budding young adult upon first striking out on their own, or dreaming of doing so, has not had that thought or something very similar? Children too, fret at times under the authority of their parents or others.

I can remember similar thoughts of my own and I see in my mind’s eye that eighteen-year-old me as she headed off to college. Admittedly, there was a little anxiety as well. Though I was “on my own” I did not leave all behind nor dump what had been instilled in me for the previous eighteen years. I brought with me my faith, my values, life’s teachings, and lessons learned from my parents and others. I realized that with this newfound freedom, there was also great responsibility.

As unfinished and developing human beings, we allow our thoughts, emotions, and actions to drive how we react to others. The familiar, “He (or she) hit me first” of children is echoed in many forms for we adults. We justify ourselves by placing blame and by not recognizing our own responsibilities within our freedom to choose.

Paul said this well in his first letter to the church in Corinth. I like that my Bible titles this section as “The Believer’s Freedom.” He said, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. *

Wow! That was pretty radical and certainly not something usually promoted, including today. Two words that stood out for me in Paul’s statement are “beneficial” and “constructive.” Not everything that we have the freedom to do results in good. Not everything we have the freedom to do serves a useful purpose or builds up others. While this freedom may be related to written laws or practices it is much more than that. This freedom has to do with personal character and integrity. It has everything to do with personal faith and commitment. Tied into all of this is compassion, love and care for others, and mutual respect.

That doesn’t make it right” is a common response to the child’s declaration of “He (or she) hit me first!” What are our thoughts, our reactions, or our words to everyday situations? Do they reflect responsible freedom? Do they shine Christ’s light? This is a challenge for us all, I think.

I pray that I will better walk the path of responsible freedom. May we all seek and follow that path, ever striving for that which is beneficial and that which is constructive. All praise and thanks to God who draws His children closer to Him.

*1 Corinthians 10:23-24