There is a story in the Bible about a prophet named Elijah. Elijah was a good prophet, maybe the best.
Elijah was the prophet during the reign of Israel’s worst king. God judged Israel for the king’s leadership, sending a famine and drought on the land for three years. The king and his evil wife blamed Elijah and put a bounty on his head.
Elijah’s life over those three years is incredible. First, God tells Elijah to camp next to a brook and promises to send birds to deliver food. Ravens came morning and night with meat and bread.
When the brook dries up and the ravens stop coming, God tells Elijah to find a certain widow who will feed and house him. When he finds her, she has enough food for one final meal. She was planning to make it and die. Instead, God miraculously fills her jars of flour and oil, every day until it rains again.
At the end of the three years, God tells Elijah to go find the king. It’s time to bring the rain.
Elijah finds the king and challenges him to a spiritual duel. Rebuild the altar, provide a sacrifice, and let’s see whether your god or mine will send fire to consume it. The king’s prophets cry out all day for their gods to burn up the offering, but the gods stay silent, disgracing the prophets and the king.
Now it is Elijah’s turn. He cries out:
“Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.
“Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:36-38).
The people repent and God brings the rain.
When I think about this story, I am mesmerized by the level of trust Elijah has. There are only a few times in my life when I have had to trust God totally and completely. It’s hard every time, even though God always comes through.
Elijah saw all this, and when he found out the king’s wife wasn’t going to stop until she had his head, Elijah ran. With all Elijah had experienced, he couldn’t do it one more time.
God finds Elijah hiding under a bush and leads him up to a mountain. Elijah really needed to hear from God again. And God speaks to Elijah, but this time in a whisper. In the whisper God says, “Elijah, you can trust me.”
Can you hear God saying “you can trust me”? Listen for the whisper.
The Rev. Jason Smith is pastor of Salida Vineyard Church.