Reflecting on 1 Kings 19: 9a, 11-13a
Every once in a while the author of the scripture text likes to have a little fun with the neighbors. That might be what’s going on in that first reading from 1 Kings. Let’s notice what happened just before this 19th chapter.
The prophet Elijah has the ultimate showdown with 450 priests of Baal, the god of the Canaanites, on Mt. Carmel. When it’s over, all the priests are slain, Elijah makes fire out of rain-drenched wood, and brings a deluge out of a three-year drought.
But Jezebel, the pagan queen of Israel who worshipped Baal, put out a hit on Elijah, sending him racing all the way down to Horeb (Sinai) in the desert, in fear of her and her armies.
And this is where the teasing comes in. Waiting desperately for a word from the Lord, Elijah looked for God in the strong and heavy wind that came up—but nope, not in the wind. Then an earthquake! Nope, not in the earthquake. Finally, fire started up! But the Lord wasn’t in the fire either.
The ancient Hebrew audience would have chuckled at all this, because they knew that the Canaanites had gods for wind, earthquake, and fire. Elijah looked for the true god in all three of these, but, sure enough, there was no god there!
Apparently there was no Canaanite god of still, small voices, for that’s where the true God was found. When he discerned this voice as God’s, Elijah went and stood at the entrance to the cave, ready to do as God instructed.
This story today hints that insurance companies have things backward, since they call earthquake and fire “acts of God”!
When has that still, small voice spoken to you?
Kathy McGovern ©2023