I just preached on the story of Elijah a couple of weeks ago to the church in McKinleyville to talk about transitions. It is fun to preach on the same text so close together in very different contexts. Today I tell the story to talk about how we hear God and about some changes in how we see God at work.
The old prophets are given as a gift to the people of Israel to counteract the power of the king (or queen). This is the dynamic story of the powerful clash between the people of faith and the people fallen into idolatry, personified as a clash between the wicked rulers Jezebel and Ahab and the faithful Prophet Elijah. They square off in a shoot out on top of Mount Carmel. But oddly enough, even though we have the story of a great miracle. Nothing changes.
In church Jim Stanfield commented that it doesn’t make any difference what great work or sign we get, we tend not to change until we want to change. So, the emphasis goes from miracle and power to finding the truth. So, Elijah’s next connection with God shows God not in the powerful signs of earthquake and storm and fire, but in the silence which is where most of us have to sort through God’s voice in our lives. Elijah’s word is that God isn’t in the miracle signs but in the voice as still as silence that is within us already. It will be this voice that will lead us to the Messiah, the child of promise.