Stand Before the Mountain
I Kings 19:9-10 (the Word of the Lord came to him.)
Psalm 139:4 (God all-knowing)
I Kings 19:11-13 ESV
In I Kings 19:9 we find Elijah dwelling in a cave. While Elijah was there, the word of the Lord came to him and God asked the Prophet what he was doing in the cave. Since God is all knowing the information was for the person asking, not the Almighty (Psalm 139:4).
Elijah was very honest and he basically told God he was there because the people of Israel were not honoring their covenant with God, they torn down the altars, and they had killed all the other prophets.
Elijah was the only prophet who was still living. Elijah also told God that the people of Israel were chasing him so they could kill him as well.
Then, in I Kings 19:11-13 God told Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke 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 the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I really struggled with this scripture. I was at a time in my faith walk where I desperately wanted to hear God.
I’ve said before that while I knew my dad listened to God he was the only person I knew who talked about hearing God. I believed my dad heard the voice of God but while I thought I’d listened, I gave up because I didn’t hear anything. I assumed I just didn’t have that gift.
In addition to that, since my dad was the only person I spoke with who said they heard from God I had no where else to go.
Then, one day when I was 19/20 years old I walked into a church in a town not far from where I grew up and I was introduced to an older gentleman. I was told he was a construction worker. He had a rugged face that was worn by the sun. His hands were very large and rough. Still, when I first met him I knew there was something different about him.
When he looked at me, my heart was pierced. At the time I didn’t know why, but I knew something was different about this man.
When he looked at me I felt the power of God.
I was trying to think about what to say to him when he confronted me. It wasn’t anything like how my Mother and Dad confronted me when they were correcting me. I found I had a longing to hear his words.
Even then, I didn’t know why I knew there was something very different about this man.
I thought of a polite question to ask him. He looked at me and in a kind way he told me he had been waiting for me and he knew I would come. He told me God had a plan for me.
I was surprised but I asked him how I would know the plan. He said at the right time God would make it clear.
Ever so gently he touched my arm and I felt power enter my body.
Our first meeting was very brief. We met several times after that and each time he had another message for me. Each message was as powerful as the first.
Each time we spoke I told my dad what he said. My dad said he knew someone would come to me but he didn’t know when or where.
I regret that I didn’t write down each message. I thought I would remember his words forever. After seeing him several times I got married, eventually had children and we started serving in a church. I forgot about the specific messages he spoke to me, but I remembered the overall theme.
He told me I would hear God when the time was right.
He told me after that, God would gradually reveal my plan.
He told me God’s hand was on me.
He told me to be silent and wait.
He told me God would not fail me.
That happened 50 years ago when I was 19 years old. I would like to be able to say that everything he told me happened quickly and I was able to know everything in an instant.
I did not. In the years that followed I gradually learned how to sit in silence for a short time with God. I learned how to wait on God. At one point in my life I thought maybe I understood God’s plan for me, but I was wrong.
Eventually when the time was right, God did reveal my plan. It wasn’t anything like I expected. It hasn’t fully happened yet. Fifty years later I only have an idea about what the plan will be.
I know it included my journey to Seminary that I took starting when I was 54 years old (from 2007 to 2013).
Today I can see a little bit about how God has prepared me and will prepare me to fulfill this plan God has for me.
Today I believe my hunger and thirst to hear God when I was 19 and 20 was just the beginning. I also believe before my dad passed over, he saw the plan God had for me. I was 34 years old when my dad died. My dad told me to keep listening, yearn for God, and cherish the silence of God.
This year I realized my dad had been gone for 35 years. I realized I had lived without him for longer than I had lived with him. More and more, I spend time in silence listening to God. I yearn for God more and more. I cherish the silence.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Be silent and Listen.
Listen for the still small voice of God.
In God, Deborah