15 June 2016

1 Kings 19:1-16

"A sound of sheer silence." (v.12)

Psalm: Psalm 103



The prophet Elijah was hiding in a cave. He had lived through a reign of terror in which hundreds of God's people had been slaughtered. Things had not turned out as Elijah expected, as he thought they should. The great prophet felt afraid and felt that God had abandoned him.

But Elijah continued his search for God. There was one last place to go. If he were to find God anywhere then surely it would be on the holy mountain, Mount Sinai. It was here that Moses had experienced the living God in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1 - 4:17). It was here that many years later Moses had received the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 20). It was indeed a very holy place.

On the mountain Elijah sought safety in a cave. From the solitude of the cave he listened as a mighty storm raged all around. The wind howled, the earth rumbled, the ground beneath his feet shook. The powerful storm intensified his feeling of being completely alone. But then, gradually, the storm abated and all was quiet. Elijah wrapped his cloak around himself and went outside. He stood in front of the cave, his eyes gazing over the grandeur of the mountains. After the lashing storm all was still. At last, after such a long period of feeling deep within himself the total absence of God, in the silence he was powerfully aware of God's presence, of God speaking to him.

In the grandeur and solitude of the mountain Elijah experienced the living God in the sound of sheer silence.

To Ponder

  • In what ways do you identify with Elijah's feelings of being abandoned by God?
  • In the distractions of busy lives where can we go to listen for the sound of sheer silence?
  • Where do you go to feel God's presence and hear God's voice? What is it about that place that makes it so special?

Bible notes author

The Revd Barbara Calvert

Revd Barbara Calvert is a Methodist minister and superintendent of the Bromley Circuit. Before becoming a minister she was an RE teacher, area coordinator for Christian Aid and chaplain to international students in the three universities in Glasgow.