God had to teach Elijah a lesson on listening so he took him to the top of Mr. Horeb and gave him an illustrated sermon.
“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake 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 a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
When that wind began to howl, I think Elijah thought, “It’s about time, Lord. Blow Jezebel right off her throne—throw her and her sinner friends to the winds. Blow them all away!” But God was not in the wind!
Suddenly, a great earthquake came and Elijah said, “That ought to scare them good! God will get even. He will shake them right out of their shoes! Lord, you are vindicating your servant.” But God was not in the earthquake!
After the earthquake, a fire! The heavens were aglow with white-hot flames! Elijah cried, “Lord, they didn’t accept the fire that fell on the altar—burn them out! Burn out wicked Ahab! Fry Jezebel. Cause your fire to consume the wicked. God, I know you are in this fire!” But God was not in the fire!
“And after the fire, a still small voice” (vs. 12).
Can you imagine this? A prophet who was not afraid of a hurricane or an earthquake or heavenly fireworks is frightened by a still small voice. “And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle” (vs. 13).
Elijah covered his head with his coat! Why? Had not this prophet talked to God many times? Was he not a great man of prayer? Hadn’t God used him mightily? Yes! But Elijah was a stranger to the still small voice!
When Elijah finally allowed that voice to speak—alone, quiet, away from all the power displays—he got the most specific directions ever in all his ministry.
“Go to Damascus; go through the wilderness; anoint Hazael king over Syria; anoint Jehu king over Israel; and anoint Elisha to be prophet to follow you…” (see 1 Kings 19:15-16).
How many busy children of God today have never had the voice come to them? They are busy witnessing—doing good—praying for a spiritual awakening—fasting—so intense—so dedicated. Yet, they have heard everything but the voice of the Lord.